Housing group unveils new chief executive, set to join board in May

Paul Dolan

Liverpool-based housing association, the Riverside Group, has chosen Paul Dolan to replace outgoing chief executive, Carol Matthews.

On September 13 last year the group announced that Ms Matthews had decided to retire this year and an exercise to appoint her successor had been undertaken.

In a stock exchange announcement this morning (January 18), the group said it can now be announced that the board has agreed to appoint Paul Dolan as the new CEO when Ms Matthews formally retires.

Carol Matthews

Paul Dolan is currently CEO at Accent Group and it is intended that he will join Riverside in May 2024.

Accent Housing is based in Shipley, West Yorkshire.

Mr Dolan joined the company in May 2017.

Terrie Alafat, group chair of Riverside, said: “Paul was the stand-out candidate in a strong field and will bring a wealth of experience to Riverside, a passion for social housing, and a dedication to customer service.”

Paul Dolan said: “I am honoured to step into the role of CEO at Riverside and excited to join such a highly regarded organisation.

“Under Carol’s guidance, Riverside has achieved significant milestones, and I am fortunate to inherit an organisation formed on such strong foundations. I look forward to building upon Carol’s legacy, embracing the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

He added: “As I step into this new role, my commitment is to uphold the strong values and principles that have made Riverside a respected provider in the housing sector. By working alongside Riverside’s board and committees, colleagues, customers, and partners, I am eager to leverage our collective expertise to continue delivering great services and creating thriving communities as we work together to address the evolving needs of our residents.”

Prior to a number of senior housing management roles from 2002 to 2010, he won a scholarship to work as a chef for Raymond Blanc in 2002 at 2 Michelin star restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.

He has a successful track record in delivering transformational business and culture change and is experienced in organisational turnarounds, taking businesses from positions of serious regulatory failure to full compliance.

He has led both not for profit and commercial businesses, and managed stakeholders through complex organisational change.

In 2019, he successfully led Accent to a record-breaking deal with the UK social housing sector’s lowest ever price on a long-dated public bond.

Paul created the #MorethanHomes campaign to raise £1m for the Trussell Trust.

Backed by the National Housing Federation, Chartered Institute of Housing and the Northern Housing Consortium, More than Homes is an initiative established to build on the collective power of the housing sector, to respond to the economic crisis resulting from COVID-19.

Prior to his time with Accent, Paul was a former chief executive of Johnnie Johnson Housing Trust (JJHT) from February 2014 to April 2017, where he steered the organisation to financial stability, regulatory compliance and through a comprehensive reform of governance.

He delivered JJHT’s new vision and provided the organisation with a clear purpose and a national voice for retirement living.

From 2010 to 2014, Paul was chief executive of Sadeh Lok Housing Group, leading the organisation through governance, organisational and cultural business transformation.

This included reviewing the composition of this complex group, which included a national children’s charity and employment agency, establishing a new vision and business objectives which resulted in regulatory upgrades for viability and governance within 12 months. Paul went on to grow Sadeh Lok’s property portfolio by seven per cent within 18 months and secure the Investors in People Gold Standard.

Paul previously chaired the National Housing Federation Yorkshire and Humberside Region CEO group and has been appointed by the regulator as a statutory appointee to a non-compliant lease-based provider.

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