Alan Shannon and John McLean to head NIFHA

John McLean

Alan Shannon and John McLean have been appointed as the new Chair and Vice-Chair of the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA).   A new board has also been appointed.

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Alan Shannon

Alan Shannon had a distinguished career in the civil service. He was Permanent Secretary in the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) and Department for Social Development (DSD), and Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Prison Service.  Currently he is a Board Member of CS Healthcare and has voluntary roles on the Senate of Queen’s University Belfast, with Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Northern Ireland the Advisory Panel on deregulation.

John McLean is the Chief Executive of Fold, one of the leading Housing Associations in Northern Ireland. Fold manages 5,500 properties, providing housing, care and support to over 30,000 homes, including through Telehealth and Telecare services.  John was previously employed as Commercial Director with NIE, the Tyco Group and the Rotary Group.  He has worked in the manufacturing, contracting and services sectors, overseas and in the UK.

In response to his appointment, Alan Shannon said: “I am delighted to have been appointed NIFHA’s new Chair.  Housing associations are Northern Ireland’s largest and most successful social enterprises making a huge contribution providing housing, care, support and a range of community services.

“Housing is going through a period of unprecedented change and housing associations can make a truly transformational impact in the next few years.  I look forward to helping NIFHA lead and support the sector to achieve this.”

John McLean commented: “NIFHA is providing valuable representation for housing associations, helping create a supportive policy and funding environment for our work.  I am pleased to have been appointed Vice-Chair and look forward to working with the new Chair and Board to assist housing associations deliver more high-quality housing, care and support for the people of Northern Ireland.”

Cameron Watt, Chief Executive of NIFHA, said: “NIFHA is hugely grateful to Ian Elliott and Joe McKnight, our out-going Chair and Vice-Chair.  They have made an enormous contribution to NIFHA and the housing association movement in recent years.  We also appreciate the considerable voluntary commitment by the other members of the out-going board.

We are delighted to have two such distinguished leaders as Alan Shannon and John McLean to head-up our new board.  Their exceptional skills and knowledge will be great assets in ensuring effective strategic leadership for the housing association movement in the exciting times ahead.”

NIFHA is also pleased to announce the Chair and Vice-Chair will be supported by the following new board members appointed during the recent recruitment exercise:

  • Peter Caldwell, Board member of Apex Housing
  • Liz Cuddy, Management Consultant and the Chair of Helm Housing.
  • David Duly, Chief Executive of Habinteg (Ulster) Housing Association and voluntary roles including the Cedar Foundation and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
  • Hazel Francey, Good Relations Manager for Belfast City Council and board member of the Community Relations Council for Northern Ireland.
  • Sarah Lennox, Solicitor specialising in property-related and banking matters.
  • John McPeake, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Housing Executive and member of the Council of the International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP).

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