Accent announces Sarah Ireland as Interim CEO

Accent are delighted to announce Sarah Ireland as Interim CEO following Paul Dolan’s move to Riverside, as work to recruit a permanent CEO begins.

Sarah joined Accent in 2018 as Executive Director of Development and Growth, before widening her remit to include oversight of Accent’s strategy. She has been responsible for Accent's development, sales, homeownership, and corporate strategy functions and has completely transformed how the organisation delivers affordable yet high-quality homes for those most in need.

Sarah has established herself as a strong leader at Accent, developing both asset management and development and growth strategies that balance significant investment in existing and new homes.  She has developed a strong, well networked team and a successful shared ownership brand as well as becoming a Homes England Strategic Partner. Under her guidance and leadership, Sarah’s team has delivered a pipeline of land led development schemes with over 1,000 new affordable homes currently under construction, being built to high environmental standards.

She brings a commercial perspective rooted in strong social purpose, and will build on the strong foundations of Accent’s history and Paul Dolan’s tenure as CEO.

Sarah comments, “I am honoured to have been appointed as Interim CEO for Accent; an organisation that I feel very proud to have worked for since 2018. My ambition for the next few months is to embed the foundation stones for the delivery of our new 3-year Corporate Strategy across the organisation; invest in our success with new digital systems and start to grow our profile and impact – to ensure that we deliver even more for our customers.”
Reflecting on her personal journey, Sarah adds “I was lucky enough to be able to complete my Building Surveying degree as a mature student even though I became a single parent to my three children, who were all under eight years old, part way through. As part of my course I undertook a number of projects which related to the maintenance, regeneration and provision of new affordable housing. We were living in London and life was quite tough and it resonated with me just how important it was to be able to provide an affordable home for my children; not just to keep them warm and dry but to ensure that they felt emotionally secure and safe.

“My view is that this basic housing provision provides one of the key elements in creating opportunity for the next generation and that is why I am so committed to delivering the principles set out in our Asset Management Strategy; balancing investment in our existing homes as well as building new to ensure that we are able to provide good quality homes for all of our customers.

“I think that it is unforgiveable that so many children are living in temporary accommodation in the UK, it is heartbreaking. Therefore, I’m proud that Accent housed 1664 new customers and their families this year, many of whom had previously been homeless.

Whilst we continue this work I will also have a strong focus on the ambitions that we have set out in our new strategy, particularly in relation to investing in and developing more customer influenced services.” 

Speaking of Sarah’s interim appointment, Accent’s Group Chair Tom Miskell said “The board and I are delighted that Sarah will lead Accent as Interim CEO. Sarah's strategic and visionary approach are poised to drive continued growth, innovation, and customer impact as we embark on our new corporate strategy. Under her strong stewardship and the strong leadership team Paul Dolan has developed, Accent is primed to continue moving forward ensuring this transition period is smooth for our colleagues and customers." 

To fill the role of Executive Director of Strategy and Growth, Amina Graham joined Accent on an interim basis on Monday 8 April. Amina brings a wealth of senior level management experience with her and has had a long successful career at Marks and Spencer followed by 15 years in the housing sector at RHP, L&Q and Housing 21. During her time in the sector, she has also been a Board member of Network Homes and is currently on the Paradigm Group Board and a member of the Customer Experience and Audit and Risk Committees. As an experienced leader in customer-focused businesses, she feels passionately about getting the basics right to every customer, every time. She is committed to delivering high quality affordable homes and excellent customer service and driving improvements in the social housing sector.

Recruitment for the permanent CEO begins in the coming weeks and is being led by external recruitment agency, EMA Consultancy.

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