Changes at the top: MTVH, Orbit Group and the Towns Unit


MTVH CEO Geeta Nanda stepping down

After sixteen years as CEO of Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing, or its preceding organisations, Geeta Nanda, OBE has announced she is to step down from her role.

The former Chair of the G15 group has informed the MTVH Board of her intention to step away from the executive role in the Autumn of 2024 and once a replacement is in post.

Geeta Nanda, OBE, said: “When you have the privilege to lead an incredible organisation like MTVH for 16 years it can be hard to find the right moment to step away, but I know this is the right time for several reasons.

“First, we have bounced back from the pandemic, with an improved credit outlook, the ability to deliver more opportunities for our residents, and the strongest governance rating.

“Second, there is a real continuity, strength, and depth in our Chair, Board and senior team, colleagues, and involved customers who will carry on MTVH’s mission to give everyone a decent home and the chance to live well.

“Finally, this is also the right time for me personally as my mum turns 91 this year and I want to spend more time caring for her.

“I entered the affordable housing sector as a Housing Officer 35 years ago to give more people the security of a decent home and the opportunities that come with that. I’m grateful that MTVH has given me the opportunity to fulfil that purpose and proud that we have enhanced resident experience, created great places to live, and met the challenges faced by communities by supporting people to live well. With our great team here we have also completed, or progressed over 15,000, new homes in the past 16 years.”

MTVH’s Chair, Althea Efunshile, CBE, is leading the search and selection process for the new CEO, supported by other Board members, and has appointed executive search specialists Odgers Berndston to assist.


PM appoints Towns Tsar

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has appointed Adam Hawksbee as interim Chair for the Towns Unit.

Adam, Deputy Director of the think tank Onward, will help deliver the government’s Long-Term Plan for Towns, backed by £1.1 billion overall, to regenerate 55 towns around the country.

Each town will receive a 10-year endowment-style fund with £20 million of funding and support to deliver long-term projects focused on the issues that matter most to local people, including regenerating high streets, protecting local heritage and cracking down on anti-social behaviour.

The Unit will ensure the Long-Term Plan for Towns delivers its promise by supporting local leaders to develop proposals, encouraging further investment from businesses and making sure that Towns Boards become long-term institutions that serve their communities.

Adam will be visiting towns up and down the country and reporting directly back to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove on how these places can better level up. 

Adam’s work to date has focused on increasing economic growth and strengthening communities across the UK. He has published research on a range of topics including empowering regional mayors, tackling antisocial behaviour and reforming technical education. He was also previously Head of Policy to Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands.

Adam will be undertaking the role on a part-time basis, alongside his position as Deputy Director of Onward.


Orbit Group appoints two new Non-Executive Board Directors

Emma Kenny and Priya Khullar have joined the Board of Orbit Group as Non-Executive Directors

An experienced Non-Executive Director, Emma Kenny, currently holds Non-Executive board positions at Cottsway Housing Association, VR Entertainment, Rematch and Innovate UK Loans.

She brings with her 25 years of experience in senior positions at global blue-chips in brand building, omni-channel marketing, customer journey and digital-led insights. 

Priya Khullar brings a background in senior leadership roles focusing on customer experience, digital and data analytics, including positions with major UK and international organisations such as the Home Office, Conversity, BT, Pfizer and Sky, as well as a Non-Executive Director role with London Travelwatch.

Chair of Orbit Group, David Weaver commented: “We are delighted to welcome Emma and Priya to our Board. They are both very experienced board members with extensive expertise in customer experience, as well as sharing our commitment to making a social difference. I have no doubt they will both prove a real asset in helping us to continue to our drive to provide affordable, good quality, safe homes that our customers love.

“It’s an exciting time for Orbit as we look to shape our 2030 corporate strategy, and I look forward to hearing their insights and inputs as we develop this further.”