Board Member Profiles

Discover more about our board members

James Strang

Jim was appointed to the Board in March 2021 and was elected as Chair in September 2021. Jim is a Member of Riverside’s Customer Experience Committee

Jim has more than 40 years' experience in the housing sector. He began his career working for local authorities across the west of Scotland before serving as Group Chief Executive of Parkhead Housing Association for 13 years.

Jim is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and served as Chairman of the Scotland Branch, Vice-President and then President of the CIH.

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Gerard Darroch
Gerard Darroch

Gerard was formally elected to the Board in August 2016. Gerry holds a Master of Arts in English & Philosophy and a Post Graduate Diploma in Industrial Administration and also in Housing Studies. Gerry is also an EFQM trained assessor.

Gerry has worked both in the private sector and also with the local authority where he worked for over 30 years within housing management. His responsibilities included asset services, community safety, waste management and grounds maintenance.

Gerry also held responsibility for street-scene which included community learning and development, active schools, adult literacy, sustainable communities and community asset transfer. He was a member of the Child Protection and Adult Protection Committees, participating in multi-agency significant case reviews.

Prior to retirement Gerry held the post of Head of Housing and Communities in East Ayrshire and steered his service through the Council’s transformation strategy whilst leading on new housing developments and implementing a property factoring service.

Since retirement Gerry works with the Scottish Qualifications Authority as a Depute Chief Invigilator and is an Ordinary Member of the First Tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber.

Gerry was appointed to our Audit & Risk Committee in September 2020.

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Margaret Burgess
Margaret Burgess

Margaret was elected to the Board in August 2016.

Margaret is the former Scottish Government Minister for Housing and Welfare and was MSP for Cunninghame South 2011-2016. She was also previously a Manager at East Ayrshire Council’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB).

Margaret brings a wealth of knowledge of the housing system in Scotland both from setting policy and direction as the Minister responsible, but also from the perspective of tenants from her many years working with the CAB service.

Since retiring, Margaret has focussed on assisting local residents and is a Board Member of North Ayrshire’s Women’s Aid and is a finance volunteer of the co-ordinating committee of the local M.S. Society Group. Margaret also volunteers at the local community mental health hospital.

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Jane Galbraith

Jane was formally elected to the Board in August 2017. Jane has extensive experience in business development, currently self-employed with Market Route Mapping, specialising in product development. She is involved in high-level strategy development and is responsible for maintaining strong relationships with a diverse range of customers, stakeholders and partners.

Jane has qualifications in Project Management from IBM, Supervisory Management from West College Scotland and Investors in People accreditation.

Jane has a background in retail and has 23 years experience of sales and marketing in the retail sector, working previously as a Retail Design Consultant for the John Lewis Partnership and a Store Manager for Ness Clothing Scotland. Jane also has logistics and distribution experience working with FMCG companies.

Jane is also a Business Mentor with Young Enterprise Scotland, Women’s Enterprise Scotland and the Scottish Chambers of Commerce on a voluntary basis.

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Robin Hill, Board Member
Robin Hill

Robin was elected to the Board in August 2018 and became Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee in May 2019. Robin is a member of the Chartered Banker Institute and has over 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry with Bank of Scotland, HBOS, Lloyds Banking Group, TSB and more recently as an independent adviser.

Robin is a risk management and governance specialist with experience across the retail, commercial and corporate sectors and has held a number of senior Risk and Internal Audit roles. Robin also has significant project management experience including contributing to the build, and divestment, of TSB from Lloyds Banking Group and business integration projects for HBOS and Lloyds Banking Group.

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Mary Crearie

Mary was elected to the Board in August 2019 and is a member of the Audit & Risk Committee. She is currently Director of Communities, Housing and Planning with Renfrewshire Council. Her responsibilities include, Community Safety and Public Protection, Housing and Homeless Services, Planning and Development Control, Community Learning and Development and Cultural Regeneration.

Mary has extensive experience in housing, and is a Corporate Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing. She worked in various housing roles in local government in Ayrshire, and in Australia where she was Director of Regional Services for the South Australian Housing Trust, returning to Scotland in 2005 as Director of Housing Services with Glasgow Housing Association.

She joined Renfrewshire Council in August 2008.

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Sohini Petrie

Sohini was elected to the Board in September 2021. Sohini is a leadership and team coach and culture change facilitator, supporting leaders and teams to perform at their best and thrive. Her previous corporate career evolved from IT change to strategic change projects to wider organisational strategy.

Sohini has over 15 years of professional experience in financial services, retail, and public service. She holds degrees in BSc. in Applied Mathematics & Computer Science, BSc. (Hons) in Technology and Innovation Management, and MSc. in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology. She also serves on the board of SEIN (Glasgow-based charity that supports refugees and asylum seekers).

Sohini is a volunteer youth coach with GRIT and The Bridging Project, and does pro-bono consulting for charities through The Cranfield Trust.

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Tony McInnes

Tony was elected to the Board in September 2021 and is a member of the Audit & Risk Committee. Tony is an experienced and successful MD/CEO and Finance Director (General Manager, Sales & BD, Project Director Management Consultancy) in several sectors. He is a recognised business developer with training and consultancy skills and has wide experience of organisational change. He is also a qualified accountant.

Tony's experience has been gained across a range of industries including professional services (specifically the legal profession), niche market project management in the construction sector (specifically the crematoria sector), general management consultancy and the recruitment sectors. He has detailed knowledge of delivering corporate services within a wide range of organisations with a strong emphasis on a commercial approach, whether private or public sector.

He was a founding partner and previous CEO of Ramsay Consulting, a group of small niche businesses with interests in several of the above sectors. He has wide experience of strategic review for commercial entities and a wealth of operational experience across the disciplines of finance, marketing, HR, IT, general organisation management and sales.

Tony is interested in renewable energy and has constructed hydro power plants in the West Highlands of Scotland. He is currently running an acquisitive group business – Ramsay Group Holdings Ltd., operating in the civil Engineering and Construction sectors.

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Scott Stewart

Scott was elected to the Board in September 2021. Scott holds an HNC and Bsc Degree in Construction Management. Scott is also a qualified Domestic Energy Assessor and has over 20 years of experience working within the Built Environment.

Scott is currently a Senior Technical Co-ordinator for another Scottish housing association and a registered Domestic Energy Assessor with Elmhurst Energy. His responsibilities at his current post are to report and carry out all energy assessments of the stock and to assist in procurement and management of planned and cyclical maintenance projects.

Additionally, Scott and his wife are registered foster carers and are active in helping support young people through the fostering agency they represent.

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Patrick New

Patrick was appointed to the Board in December 2021. Patrick is Executive Director, Customer Service at The Riverside Group and is Group’s nominee on our Board.

Patrick has over 30 years’ experience working in regulated service industries and over 15 years’ experience at MD/Director/ Executive level. He has a track record of success in a range of customer service and commercial directorate roles including Royal Bank of Scotland, British Gas, Dyno Rod and Ecotricity.

Roles have included multi-site customer service leadership (managing teams of up to 3000 people), P&L management (up to £1bn+ revenue), sales & marketing, and nationwide operations management. He has Board and NED experience, is a professionally qualified Executive Coach and Mentor and is MBA qualified.

Patrick brings with him a wealth of experience. He has a passion for leading and developing people and providing great customer service.

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