James Francis appointed as Chair of BuildEast

Published: 11th April 2022

James Francis, CEO at Saffron, has taken over as chair of BuildEast.

BuildEast is a partnership of 17 housing associations across the East of England. It has four priorities for its work over the next two years: diversity, equality, and inclusion; understanding housing needs across the region; working towards achieving carbon net zero; and delivering a collective response to the Social Housing White Paper.

James has worked across the East of England for most of his career and was previously Vice-Chair of BuildEast. During his three years as CEO of Saffron he has led an ambitious transformation, working with tenants and community leaders to create a new long-term strategy and membership model.

James takes over as Chair from Mary Gibbons, who has now left CHP to become Chief Executive of housing association Moat. Paul Edwards is the new Chief Executive of CHP and will take Mary’s place as a BuildEast representative.

James said, “Our members will provide one in every five new homes across the East of England this year. BuildEast has a vital role to play in demonstrating how positive partnership and practice can increase our reach, influence the regional agenda, and rise to challenges tenants and their communities face. On behalf of the partnership, I would like to thank Mary for her work as Chair and look forward to maintaining momentum and leading the next stage of our plans.”

Alongside James, Emma Palmer, Chief Executive of Eastlight Community Homes is the new Vice- Chair of BuildEast.

Emma said, “I am delighted to be appointed as Vice-Chair of BuildEast. Over the past year I have been the CEO lead for one of their work priorities, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and the work we have done collaboratively has been hugely appreciated. I look forward to expanding on existing work and exploring more opportunities for partnership working across the region.”

You can find out more about Build East on their website here.