SFHA unveils new chief executive

Sally Thomas
Sally Thomas

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has announced the appointment of a new chief executive.

Sally Thomas is currently head of community investment at North Star Housing Group in the North East of England. She was seconded from 2016 to April 2017 to HACT, where she took up the role of director of communities, with responsibility for the development and delivery of the community investment and social purpose programmes.

In a previous role, Sally spent 18 years as director of a consultancy specialising in the social and economic aspects of regeneration and renewal.

During her earlier career, Sally worked in roles for several housing associations in London and became senior operations officer for the Homes and Communities Agency in 1986. Following this, she was assistant director for Tyne and Wear Development Corporation.

Sally will take over from current SFHA chief executive Mary Taylor, who retires on June 23 after nearly seven years with the Federation. It is expected that Sally will start her role at SFHA during the latter half of July.

Nile Istephan, SFHA vice chair, said: “After a very thorough recruitment process, we are delighted to have appointed Sally as our new chief executive.

“Sally’s appointment comes at a crucial time for the SFHA and our members, as the housing sector is facing many challenges – delivering 50,000 affordable homes, the yet unknown effects of Brexit and a constantly changing political climate – but there are also opportunities.

“We are confident that Sally is equipped with the necessary skills to lead the SFHA so that it can continue to be the voice of Scotland’s housing associations and co-operatives.”

Sally Thomas said: “I am delighted to be taking up this role at such an interesting and challenging time. I have long been an admirer of the work of the housing association sector in Scotland, and it is a privilege to be given the opportunity to lead the Federation at a time when our work has never been more relevant and important.

“I look forward to meeting SFHA members and other stakeholders at an early stage, and working closely with the SFHA Board and staff to ensure our work and values are firmly placed at the heart of Scottish society.”

Mary Taylor added: “Although I am sad to be leaving the SFHA, I am delighted that the Federation has secured such a high quality candidate. I am confident that, in Sally, the SFHA will go from strength to strength. There are many exciting opportunities ahead for Sally. I look forward to a smooth hand-over period.

“I wish Sally, SFHA colleagues and Board, and our members every success for the future.”

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