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Key People

The CHS Group Board and Executive team is made up of experienced individuals with extensive knowledge of the different elements of housing provision, management and social enterprise.

Our Board is drawn from the local community and is supported by 4 key committees: Operations, Audit & Finance, New Business & Development, and Human Resources. There are two further groups that strengthen our commitment to draw upon our tenants’ skills and experience – the Customer Committee, which sets its own agenda and makes recommendations on service policies and standards, and a tenant-led Scrutiny Panel which has the remit to review any part of our operation and make improvement recommendations to the main Board.


CHS is required to meet the relevant standards published and regulated by the Regulator of Social Housing. CHS’s Board is responsible for meeting the standards and being transparent and accountable for the delivery of our social housing objectives.

Regulator of Social Housing

Regulatory Standards

All Board members sign our Board Code of Conduct, available below.

Nicola Scrivings CHS Group Chair

Nicola was appointed Chair in April 2013. She also chairs the HR committee. Nicola originally trained in marketing and has held a number of Director level roles within Royal Mail. She is also Chair of Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, which delivers adult social care for the County Council.




Nigel HowlettChief Executive

Nigel has worked in social housing in and around Cambridge for 30 years. He became CHS Chief Executive in 2000 and since then has geared CHS up to be able to play a major role in Cambridgeshire supporting people who are vulnerable or on low incomes or with few skills.

Nigel is a member of the Cambridge sub-regional Housing Board, which co-ordinates housing strategy across the sub-region and on Homes for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, the housing association group working with the Combined Authority to help deliver affordable homes.


Sharon Allen – Operations Committee Chair

Sharon was appointed to the Board in 2013 and also sits on the HR Committee. She is an experienced supported housing and social care professional, having spent most of her career in the not-for-profit sector. She is currently CEO of Arthur Rank Hospice Charity and is also a Trustee of Age UK.

Sharon was previously CEO of  Skills for Care and St Anne’s Community Services and a Director at Shelter. Sharon was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honour Awards 2015 for services to social care, homeless people and Housing.


Nick Brown – New Business and Development Committee Chair

Nick was appointed to the Board in 2016 and now chairs the New business & Development committee.  He runs a family-owned local property investment and development company and has a background in financial services, sales, and accountancy.





Alex Colyer FCCA – Audit & Finance Committee Chair

Alex was appointed to the Board in 2019 and chairs the Audit & Finance Committee.  He recently retired from his position as Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer at South Cambridgeshire District Council and has held senior positions at a number of Local Authorities.  He brings a wealth of experience in financial management and business efficiency.




Phil David – Board Member

Phil was appointed to the Board in 2018 and also sits on the Audit & Finance Ctte.  He is a solicitor and spent the majority of his career at Arm Holdings, a British multinational semiconductor and software design company, latterly as General Counsel.




Gareth Hillier – Board Member

Gareth joined the Board in September 2019. He is the Head of Digital Technology, Performance, Business Improvement and Modernisation at Herts County Council, Hertfordshire. Gareth is an experienced manager in the public and third sector with a passion for health and social care, housing and service accessibility and inclusivity having extensive vocational experience in transformational programme and contract management, business development, performance management, operational management and compliance.




Phineas Hodson – Board Member

Phin joined the Board in September 2018 and sits on the Operations Committee.  He is a Cambridge-based management consultant and non-executive director with particular interests in strategy, business planning and digital transformation. He has worked across health, social care and the third sector to improve services and led strategy development and digital business cases for government departments.





Tendai Kariwo – Board Member

Tendai joined CHS Board in 2013 and sits on the Operations Committee. An experienced charity specialist working with corporates, charities and philanthropists in the UK as well as internationally. She has an extensive background in commercial banking and charity finance. She is the Partnerships Manager at the Cambridge Commonwealth, European & International Trust (Cambridge Trust). The Trust provides the largest number of scholarships for international students at the University of Cambridge.

She is passionate about empowering communities to sustain themselves and helping create resilient organisations that enable communities to flourish.



Chris Knight FFA – Board Member

Chris was appointed to the Board in September 2018 and sits on the Audit and Finance Committee.  He is CEO of Legal & General’s Retirement Retail Division and has also held a number of finance roles at L&G since 2009 and has been a Member of a wide variety of Boards, Audit and Risk Committees.






Gerhard Oberholzer – Audit & Finance Committee Chair

Gerhard joined the Board in October 2017. He is Director of GB Social Housing, a finance company to the social housing sector.  He is highly experienced in treasury, finance and asset management.






Sam Scharf – Board Member

Sam Scharf was appointed to the Board in 2019 and also sits on the New Business and Growth Committee.  Sam is currently Director of Community Investment at Orbit. Overseeing a portfolio of work, focused placemaking, community services and sustainability. Alongside this, Sam works on the development of the housing sector approach to social investment, including overseeing a JV, Community Impact Partnership, providing blended finance to social enterprises in England.  Previously Sam has worked for Big Society Capital, worked across Government and large charities as well as a stint in the USA on the Obama/Biden election campaign.



Tony Blewitt – Finance Director

Tony is an FCCA qualified accountant and an experienced Finance  director/CFO. His extensive experience has been gained in a variety of sectors, including working for multi-national businesses and for over ten years for a large group within Social Housing. During his career, in addition to leading on the core finance responsibilities such as Business Planning, Funding & treasury Management and compliance, Tony has also been responsible for leading IT and Procurement functions and contributing to overall corporate strategy.



Marie Canning – HR Director

Marie was appointed in November 2009 and is a Chartered MCIPD qualified and experienced HR Director. She has held various senior positions and has wide ranging experience in HR across a range of organisations including Local Government, BBC and NHS.

During her career she has been responsible for developing and delivering HR strategy, large scale change management programmes some of which involved TUPE and mergers; Training and Development, Health and Safety, Communications  and ICT. During her entire career she has managed large groups of professional staff.


Stephen Hills – Operations Director

Stephen was appointed in July 2018 and is an experienced housing professional, most recently as Director of Housing at South Cambridgeshire District Council.  He has also been a housing consultant and a lecturer at Sheffield Hallam and Middlesex Universities.

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