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Our Chief Executive Jim Ripley has announced that he will be retiring on 7 January 2022 after 14 years in the role and a 37 year career in housing.
Jim was appointed ahead of Phoenix's creation in 2007 as a resident-led community gateway housing association.
The recruitment process for our next Chief Executive will start shortly, led by our Board.
In a letter to all Phoenix Community Housing residents this week, Jim reflects on his time at Phoenix and how we stand today.
I am writing to all Phoenix residents today to let you know that I’m planning to retire as Chief Executive in January 2022 after 14 years in the role.
It’s been a true privilege to be Chief Executive at one of the very few resident-led housing associations in the UK and to report to our fantastic tenant Chairs, first Pat Fordham MBE and now Anne McGurk. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with a very talented and diverse group of Board Members and Executive Team colleagues.
When I was first appointed to this role in the summer of 2007 I didn’t quite know what to expect. Phoenix came into being that December and at first we were working out of a range of locations, including a paint shed. I’m not sure anyone would have predicted where we find ourselves today.
I look back with pride at some of our key milestones. The delivery of our original promises to residents and completion of our Decent Homes programme after years of underinvestment in our homes. The opening of The Green Man as our headquarters and as a new community building for everyone in our area. The introduction of our ‘school of social housing’, the Phoenix Academy, to encourage more residents to take a greater interest in Phoenix and make them aware of what’s involved in the running of a housing association.
This spring we retained our top ratings from the Regulator of Social Housing and we have published an updated Corporate Plan up to 2025.
That means that my successor will have strong foundations on which to build. We have sound finances, clear plans in place for the future and we enjoy a good reputation within the sector. The recruitment of the new Chief Executive is the responsibility of our Board and I know that they will be seeking someone who is determined to protect and strengthen the resident-led model, to give residents even more control over our services and future plans.
There are also, of course, all the challenges posed by the Covid pandemic. We are a ‘people’ organisation and we’ll be seeking ways of bringing back face-to-face engagement and events once guidelines allow. We don’t yet quite understand the fallout from Covid and what the longer term impact will be on our community. Please do get in touch with us if you feel you would benefit from any additional support. We are here to help you.
Finally, I want to say what a pleasure it’s been to meet so many of our residents over the last 14 years. For those of you who know me, I’d like to say thank you for making me think, making me laugh, giving me occasional sleepless nights. I will be finishing my job with significantly less hair than when I started.
For those of you who have had cause to complain about our services over the years, I’m sorry that we let you down and thank you for helping us to improve. We don’t get things right all of the time. I know that whoever succeeds me will be determined to make sure our performance is consistently excellent across all services.
The future of Phoenix as a resident-led housing association depends on you. If you think you can help us improve or would like to steer our future, please get in touch to get involved or sign up to the Phoenix Academy.
I will still be around for some months to come. I hope I’ll be able to see you again at The Green Man this summer. Our current plans are to reopen the building to the public on 21 June in line with the government’s roadmap to recovery, and we’re all looking forward to welcoming you back again. I hope you will also be able to join us at our next AGM in September and that many of our 3,500 resident shareholders will take the opportunity to have their say and vote.
We will introduce my successor to you all once we have a confirmed appointment. In the meantime, thank you so much again for all of your support over the years and wishing you and your families all the best.
Jim Ripley, Chief Executive