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Meet our executive directors

Find out more about our Executive Directors

Matthew Harrison

CEO and Exec Board Member

Matthew joined Great Places in 1993 and led the organisation through award winning development before being appointed Chief Executive in April 2013. He has vast experience in development and urban regeneration and has led on many iconic developments that have supported the growth of the business. Most recently, he led on Great Places merger and integration with Stockport based Equity Housing Group.

Matthew is currently Chair of the South Yorkshire Housing Partnership, Chair of South Yorkshire Housing Association and a Board Member for This City (Manchester City Council’s housing development company) and the South Yorkshire Housing Provider joint venture, Forge New Homes. He has also Chaired the Greater Manchester Housing Provider Joint Venture, Hive Homes, been a Director of the Sheffield Local Housing Company, been involved with a Local Strategic Partnership, been a PFI Company Board Member and has supported the NHF in a variety of ways.

Alison Dean

Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director of People, Culture and Business Improvement

Alison Dean is Executive Director of People, Culture and Business Improvement at Great Places. She has over 20 years experience working in the housing sector, starting her career in customer involvement, before branching into regeneration and a variety of housing and management roles. Alison’s responsibility is to drive cultural change at Great Places through continual improvement of services, and keeping the needs of customers at the heart of what we do. She is also in charge of building our employer brand engagement, so we continue to attract and retain the best people to deliver our vision.

Guy Cresswell

Executive Director Customer Services

Guy is responsible for the customer-facing side of our business, ensuring the organisation provides a great customer experience. Alongside managing our neighbourhoods, he is also responsible for our work in Independence and Wellbeing, which supports our more vulnerable customers to develop life skills and achieve their goals, and is an active member in a number of sector-related partnerships and forums. Guy has extensive experience in all aspects of housing but his passion lies in health and housing, investment in communities and regeneration, and the importance of getting right the basics of property management.

Mike Gerrard

Chief Financial Officer

Mike has responsibility for ensuring Great Places’ finance, assurance, procurement, governance and colleague health and safety functions provide high-quality support to the rest of the Group. He also ensures that the Group’s regulatory and statutory requirements are satisfied.

One of Mike’s key challenges is balancing the need for the long-term financial viability and stability of Great Places with risks posed by the Group’s strategic growth and development objectives.

He started his career in auditing and professional services and has worked in the housing sector for 20 years. Outside of Great Places, Mike is a trustee of the Greater Manchester Mayor’s charity, which aims to prevent and address the issues of homelessness.

Mike Gerrard

Phil Elvy

Executive Director of Finance

Phil has responsibility for ensuring Great Places’ Finance, Assurance, Procurement, Governance and Colleague Health and Safety functions provide high-quality support to the rest of the Group. He also ensures that the Group’s regulatory and statutory requirements are satisfied.

One of Phil’s key challenges is balancing the need for the long-term financial viability and stability of Great Places with risks posed by the Group’s strategic growth and development objectives.

He started his career in utilities and has worked in the housing sector for nearly 25 years.  Phil is a non-executive Board member at Bespoke Supportive Tenancies, a specialist supported housing provider.

Helen Spencer

Executive Director of Growth

Leading our Growth directorate, Helen is responsible for the delivery of Great Places’ £1bn affordable housing development programme and the management of key stakeholder relationships like the recently announced Homes England Strategic Partnership. Helen is also responsible for leading Great Places’ Plumlife sales team, oversees the £750m Innovation Chain North construction framework and the growth of Great Places’ recently launched in-house building contractor, Terra Nova Developments Limited.

Helen joined Great Places in 2004 as an Assistant Development Officer and became Director of Development in 2016, delivering more than 4,000 new homes in that role. She has led on a number of high profile projects and bids, most recently running the successful Victoria North bid in Manchester. In addition, Helen has provided inspirational leadership for Great Places’ successful sales teams.

Latest News

20/02/2024

Article by: Great Places

Brewing Opportunities with Great Places

Great Places launches Barista training initiatives, aiming to foster skills development and create meaningful opportunities for our communities.

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19/02/2024

Your rent booklet is on the way

Look out for your rent booklet over the next few days.  Most rents will go up by 7.7% from 1 April 2024. We set our rents using Government guidance. To calculate the increase, we use the September 2023 Consumer Price Index plus 1%. This means they usually go up by slightly more than the rate […]

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MPT Steps final mentor event

19/02/2024

More Positive Together closes after making a Great impact

The More Positive Together (MPT) and MPT Steps programmes closed at the end of 2023 after six years helping people across the county – and Great Places were a major player. The projects were aimed at enhancing the skills and employment prospects of residents in some of Lancashire’s most deprived areas. The programme was delivered […]

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