Our board

Abhishek Agarwal - Chair

PhotoAbhiAgarwalAug2019Chair: elected 24 September 2019
Board member since: 14 February 2017
Member of Customer, Assets & Development (CAD) Committee since: 24 March 2022

Abhi is an experienced Business Professional with a passion for helping people, teams and organisations realise their goals. His expertise spans the areas of strategy, governance, business models, circular economy, social housing, health care, and sustainability transition.

Currently, Abhi is Associate Prof in Strategy & MBA Programme Leader at Edinburgh Napier University, prior to which he had 17 years’ experience in leading training and projects in strategy and sustainability. He has led a wide range of business and research projects for international businesses and non-profit organisations.

Abhi holds an MBA in Business Management, a PhD in Circular Economy Strategy & Policy, and a BEng and MEng. He has also gained accreditation through IoD for Board Chair’s Role and Non-Executive Director Development for the Board. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (FCMI), Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), and a Full Member of the Institute of Directors (MIoD).

Abhi is involved with Business Strategy and the Environment & Sustainable Development journals as a member of the Editorial Board. He is an External Examiner for MBA at Lincoln International Business School, and Environment, Energy and Resources Programmes at University College London. In addition, Abhi is a member of the Quality and Performance Committee of Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS), NHS.

Furthermore, Abhi owns a portfolio of residential properties in Scotland. Consequently, he has a solid understanding of the local housing market and has a passion for housing, environment, healthcare and community-based issues. He is committed to helping communities have access to affordable and quality homes, through supporting the Association who did the same for him when he was starting out.

Jim Cargill - Vice Chair

PhotoJimCargill

Vice Chair: elected 24 September 2019
Board member since: 26 June 2018
Member of Finance, Assurance & Staffing (FAS) Committee since: 22 March 2022

Jim is currently Chief Executive of PlanSea Solutions and a Director of Calibre International, a business consultancy. He has served in the oil and gas industry for over 40 years in a variety of operational and business development roles with a number of offshore marine logistics-related companies. He has also has also worked in the environmental, biotech, internet and waste management sectors.


In addition to serving as Vice Chair of the Grampian Board, Jim sits on the TLC Board.

He holds a BA in economics and politics and a Diploma in Management Studies. Jim developed oilfield logistics courses and was an external lecturer in this field for Robert Gordon University.

Jim is involved with OGUK as a member of the SME committee and part of their Innovation and Logistics Efficiency Task Groups. He is a past Board Member of Montrose Port Authority, a Business Mentor for Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce and previously acted as Freight Advisor to NESTRANS, the transport partnership for Aberdeen City and Shire.

Jim believes that the provision of affordable housing is key to the health and wellbeing of our community and was keen to assist in that objective through membership of the Grampian Board.

Donna Darling

PhotoAbhiAgarwalAug2019Board member since: 20 September 2022
Member of Finance, Assurance & Staffing (FAS) Committee since: 20 September 2022

Donna is an experienced HR professional with membership of the CIPD and works as a Senior Human Resources Manager (North Sea) for Tenaris Global Services UK Limited. Donna is skilled in negotiation, developing employees, HR consulting, HR policies, employee relations, onshore operations, and training delivery.

In addition to nearly 20 years of experience in Human Resources and a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management from The Robert Gordon University, she brings commercial insight, focus on business values, and a willingness to take on new challenges to the role of GHA Board Member.

Donna Joined the GHA Board because she is passionate about equality, health and wellbeing, and believes these issues are supported by a stable living environment. She enjoys applying her skills and knowledge to contributing to GHA’s strategic objectives in addition to ensuring there is effective communication with tenants and wider community stakeholders.

Tigan Daspan

PhotoTiganDaspanBoard member since: 23 June 2020
Member of Customer, Assets & Development (CAD) Committee since: 24 March 2022

Tigan has worked in the public sector for 14 years in a variety of information, governance and regulatory compliance roles. Currently, an Information and Records Manager with Food Standards Scotland, Tigan’s areas of expertise include information security, data protection, project management and knowledge and information management.

Tigan holds a Master of Science Degree in International Trade from Robert Gordon University and is studying for a PhD at the same institution.

His interests include sustainable development and empowering vulnerable people to live well in their local communities. He serves as the Customer Participation Champion, to work with staff in supporting customer participation and feedback.

Stewart Davidson

StewartDavidsonBoard member since: 10 December 2019
Member of Customer, Assets & Development (CAD) Committee since: 24 March 2022

Stewart is CEO of Rubislaw Estates and has over 30 years’ experience working in the local property scene, gaining invaluable knowledge of development and planning. Of particular note was his involvement in the substantial project in the purchase, development and sale of Rubislaw Quarry.

Due to his expertise in development and property, Stewart represents GHA on the Board of its subsidiary, Kirkgate Developments, as well as providing industry expertise to staff.

Stewart is a Burgess of Guild of the city of Aberdeen and a patron of local charities. He was motivated to join the Board to help support the Association in providing quality and affordable social housing locally.

Alex Drummond

PhotoAlexDrummond

Board member since: 17 November 2020
Convenor of Finance, Assurance & Staffing (FAS) Committee since: 22 March 2022

Alex has a strong financial background gained from 30 years in the business and commercial banking sector. He is Managing Director of Drummond Finance, a firm of commercial finance brokers which he founded in 2018 to support local businesses borrowing requirements through his commercial banking experience and access to commercial lenders.

Alex’s areas of expertise are in finance, strategy, funding, risk, compliance & regulatory oversight, project management, change management and stakeholder management. 

Alex was motivated to join the Board after working with housing associations during his banking career, where he saw for himself the significant and tangible difference that the sector makes to local communities and to so many lives and families.

Ritchie Johnson

Board member since: 21 September 2021RJohnson

Member of Finance, Assurance & Staffing (FAS) Committee since: 22 March 2022  

Ritchie Johnson was Director of Business Services at Aberdeenshire Council. He worked in social housing for 25 years, including 5 years as Director of Housing and Social Work. He is experienced in leading a number of Council services, including housing, social work, various corporate services and education. Ritchie brings with him substantial local government and committee experience, as well as established local relationships across Grampian that will support the Board and the Association in its work.

Ritchie has a BA (Hons) in Urban Studies from the University of Sussex and Diploma in Housing Studies from Stirling University. Has previously served on the Board of the Rural Housing Service.

Ritchie enjoys new challenges and has a positive outlook. He wished to join the GHA Board because he has a long-standing commitment to housing and all the services and value that can bring to people’s lives.

Kristi Kelly

KKellyBoard member since:  21 May 2019
Convenor of Customer, Assets & Development (CAD) Committee since: 24 March 2022

Kristi is currently Manager at Aberdeen Citizens Advice Bureau and has a wealth of knowledge and experience of working in the public and third sectors and the challenges which they face. Kristi has a background in the social housing sector having worked for Aberdeenshire Council in the Housing Service for over 9 years, predominantly within the Homelessness team. She also worked in assisting the Council to prepare for the Welfare Reform changes introduced over the last decade, as well as running a pilot scheme on providing advice and assistance to tenants to encourage tenancy sustainability.

Kristi has an Honours Degree in Politics and International Relations from Aberdeen University. Having an interest in the housing sector, she also completed the Chartered Institute of Housing Level 4 Diploma in Housing Practice at Dundee and Angus College. This gave Kristi a deeper insight into the sector and of the legislative and regulatory requirements of housing providers in Scotland.

Through her years of experience in social housing from a frontline perspective, Kristi joined the Grampian Board in order to broaden her understanding of the strategic operations side, as well as support the Association with her skills and knowledge. Having been on the Board for a couple of years now, Kristi has thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the strategic decision-making of Grampian and thereby having a positive impact on Grampian’s tenants and customers, staff, and across the wider community.

Freya Lees

Board member since: 28 July 2023

Freya is Director of North Star Consulting & Research which she established in 2011.  She has enjoyed twenty-five years working as a consultant and researcher in the social housing field with national and global consultancies. During this time, she has worked with Scottish local authorities and Registered Social Landlords and is a well-known, respected contributor to the sector. 

Freya has had responsibility for a wide range of research and consultancy assignments spanning Local Housing Strategy development, housing need and demand assessments, large scale voluntary transfer of housing stock to new RSLs, organisational reviews and staffing structures, rent harmonisation, provision of tenant advice and engagement and the role of independent tenant advisor, strategic reviews including options appraisal and merger advice, and governance work.

Freya has a MSc (Distinction) Research in the Built Environment from Heriot Watt University, a Post Graduate Diploma Housing Studies from Heriot Watt University and a MA (Hons) Social Anthropology from University of Edinburgh.

Having recently returned to Aberdeenshire to live, Freya was keen to join the Board of Grampian following her five-year tenure as Chair of Kingdom Housing Association in Fife.  She is interested in an organisation which plays an important role in the provision of affordable housing in local communities where she can utilise her skills and experience at a strategic level.

Freya is no stranger to Grampian having worked with the Association in the past in her consultancy roles.

Stuart Rothnie

PhotoStuartRothnieBoard member since: 24 September 2019
Member of Finance, Assurance & Staffing (FAS) Committee since: 22 March 2022

Stuart is VP of Research and Development with Rubberatkins, and is a driven engineering and business leader with a successful track record in the UK and US. 

He holds an MBA from the University of Aberdeen and an Open University BEng (Honours) Degree. He is a chartered fellow of the institution of mechanical engineers too (CEng FIMechE).


Stuart has an interest in social housing which is aligned to Grampian Housing's purpose and he welcomes the opportunity to contribute to our work with communities.

Shen Selvam

ShenSelvamphotoBoard member since: 12 December 2018
Member of Finance, Assurance & Staffing (FAS) Committee since: 22 March 2022

Shen has been in the oil and gas industry for 20 years in a variety of operational management and project engineer roles. Currently he is a Senior Project Manager specialising in subsea and wellhead operations. Shen’s areas of expertise include operations management, strategic planning, change management, and strategic planning.

Shen holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree, a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Marketing.

He is the Association’s Digital Champion, assisting with the development and implementation of the Association’s Digital Strategy. Shen also sits on the Kirkgate Board.

As an avid traveller, Shen has observed many different cultures and our shared need for a place to call home; something not all of us are fortunate to be able to do. Having lived in Aberdeen for more than 20 years, Shen joined Grampian's Board to help make a difference in the lives of the communities they support.

Dave Thomson

Board member since: 21 February 2023

Dave Thomson is currently Housing Manager (Asset Management & Repairs) at Aberdeenshire Council where he has worked in various roles over the last 14 years.  He has extensive experience within the public sector including leading the £80 million capital programme (including upgrades to achieve EESSH2 and Net Zero), voids, repairs and planned maintenance services.  In addition he has experience of strategic planning, policy review and production and building design.

Dave is on the Scottish Government Group reviewing EESSH2.

 

Dave holds a Diploma in Surveying from the University of Reading and Post Graduate Diploma in Housing from the University of Stirling.  He is a Chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Housing.

Charlotte Torrance

Board member since: 28 July 2023 Charlotte_Torrance_008.jpg

Member of Customer, Assets & Development (CAD) Committee since: November 2023

Charlotte graduated with a LLB in Law and Post Graduate Diploma from Robert Gordon University in 2022 and is Associate Partner with Aberdeen based practice Andersonbain LLP.

She has worked in the property industry for eight years and has a sound knowledge of the law in relation to new build development, sales and acquisitions of residential property and leasing.

Charlotte joined the Board of Grampian because of her understanding of the rising need for social housing not only in Aberdeen but across Scotland.  She has a keen interest in supporting the Association in its growth and has experience of the importance that social housing can have on improving peoples’ lives.

Nikola Will

NWillBoard member since: 28 July 2023

Nikola is a Generalist Outreach Adviser with Aberdeen Citizens Advice Bureau (ACAB) where she has responsibility for providing advice on a range of topics including welfare benefits and housing as well as work in partnership with The Trussell Trust foodbanks.  Through this front-line role she is committed to assisting people to access all the support and assistance available to them.

Nikola is currently studying Business Management at Robert Gordon University, has a Certificate in Bookkeeping and runs her own small business.

Importantly Nikola brings lived experience as a social housing tenant to her role as a Board member.  She was keen to join the Board of Grampian because she believes everyone has a right to live in affordable housing.  Through Nikola’s work with ACAB she is acutely aware of the impact that the cost-of-living crisis and increased energy costs are having on households and she is bringing this in-depth knowledge and experience to her role as a Board member.  

 

Latest News

Rent increase 2024/25

This week we are sending emails/letters advising tenants about the 7.7% rent increase which will take affect from 1 April 2024. Tenants were consulted on the proposed rent increase in December...

Read more

GOALS - New centre of excellence for lea…

The learning and development opportunities offered by Grampian Housing Association have been brought together in its new GOALS initiative. Formally launched to staff this week, GOALS demonstrates the Association’s commitment to...

Read more

'The Noise App' - 1 month trial

Starting today, Monday 22 January, Grampian Housing is running a 1 month trial of ‘The Noise App’. ‘The Noise App’ helps you record any persistent noise nuisance where you live and...

Read more

Festive Message from Grampian Group CEO …

As part of my festive message to tenants and our customers, I wanted to remind everyone of our commitment to continue to support you and provide the best service we...

Read more

Rent Consultation 2024-25

We need your views! Each year we (Grampian Housing Association) review our rents on the 1 April to take account of inflation, changes in interest rates charged on our loans and year...

Read more

Ballater development wins architectural …

The Old School - Aberdeenshire Council Our ambitious Old School regeneration project at Abergeldie Road, Ballater has won the Building communities for the future category and was also commended in the...

Read more

New Heat & Eat initiative wins natio…

It was a double win for Grampian Housing Association at this year's Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland Awards Cermony.  Our new Heat and Eat initiative was announced the winner of...

Read more

Craig Stirrat, CEO wins CIHS Lifetime Ac…

Our Chief Executive, Craig Stirrat, won the Lifetime Achievement award in housing at the Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland (CIHS) annual awards ceremony.  It was awarded in recognition of the...

Read more

Grampian Housing Association Appoints Th…

Grampian Housing Association has appointed three new board members at our recent annual general meeting. Freya Lees, Charlotte Torrance and Nikola Will were elected along with Dave Thomson, who had filled...

Read more

Logos for IIP, Healthy Working Lives and Happy to Translate