Stephen Smith has over 40 years of experience in the real estate industry and is currently Non-Executive Chairman of Starwood European Real Estate Finance Limited which he has decided to stand down from with effect from 31 December 2021. Stephen is also Non-Executive Chairman of Sancus Lending, an AIM listed property finance business. Previously, he was Non-Executive Chairman of Alternative Income REIT plc from December 2017 until May 2021 and Chief Investment Officer of British Land Company PLC, the FTSE 100 real estate investment trust, from January 2010 to March 2013 with responsibility for the group’s property and investment strategy. Prior to joining British Land, Stephen was Global Head of Asset Management and Transactions at AXA Real Estate Investment Managers, where he was responsible for the asset management of a portfolio of more than €40 billion on behalf of life funds, listed property vehicles, unit linked and closed end funds. Before joining AXA in 1999 he was Managing Director at Sun Life Properties for five years. In addition, Stephen was formerly a non-executive director of Tritax Big Box REIT plc and Gatehouse Bank plc.
Jim, a Chartered Accountant, has over 35 years’ experience in senior financial roles. Between 1998 and 2015, he was Group Finance Director at Argent Group plc, the UK based property developer and then Finance Partner of Argent (Property Development) Services LLP and Argent Investments LLP, which specialise in mixed use developments with a focus on place making and inner city regeneration; Jim was involved in Argent’s major developments in Manchester, Birmingham and the City of London, and from 2008 to 2015 he worked on the King's Cross Central joint venture, one of Europe's largest regeneration projects. Prior to this, Jim was Group Finance Director at NOBO Group plc and at Creston Land & Estates plc. Until the end of September 2021, Jim was Senior Independent Director at Empiric Student Property plc and a Non-Executive Director at Alternative Income REIT plc. Until March 2019, Jim was also the Senior Independent Director at Tritax Big Box REIT plc.
Rod has over 20 years’ experience in the financial services sector. Latterly, he was an Executive Director at Abrdn plc (previously Aberdeen Asset Management PLC) as the Group Head of Risk with responsibility for UK and Global operational risk and regulatory compliance. He was also chairman of the Abrdn group executive risk management committee, the senior risk oversight function of the group. He has extensive involvement in corporate activity including transformational acquisitions and defence strategies. Prior to that, Rod was Chief Operating Officer at Edinburgh Fund Managers, which he joined in 1991 and was acquired by Abrdn in 2003. Rod is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, having qualified with Coopers & Lybrand and is the Chairman of the REIT Audit Committee.
Steffan Francis has more than 40 years of experience in the real estate industry. Until 2016, Steffan was a Director at M&G Real Estate where he was responsible for the £6 billion “Long Income” business. He was also involved in creating and ensuring the long term success of a number of real estate funds, including the M&G Secured Property Income Fund, which within 10 years of being launched, became the largest property fund on the AREF/IPD UK quarterly Property Fund Index. Currently, Steffan is a non-executive Director of M&G (Guernsey) Limited and is also an independent adviser to the British Steel Pension Trustees. Steffan is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a member of the Investment Property Forum.
Geeta has over 30 years' experience working in the property sector. She is Chief Executive Officer of Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing Association ("MTVH"), having previously led its creation in 2017 with the merger of Metropolitan Housing Trust and Thames Valley Housing Association Ltd, where she was Chief Executive Officer for over 9 years. At MTVH, Geeta is responsible for the management of 60,000 homes, with 120,000 residents, and an ongoing new-build programme of over 1,000 homes a year. She also has significant experience of PRS, having established 'Fizzy Living', the London PRS subsidiary of Thames Valley Housing Association Ltd in 2012.
Geeta is a member of the Homes for Londoners mayoral Board, and a Board member of The National Housing Federation, the industry body representing providers of housing. She is also Chair of G15, the group of London's largest housing associations. She was previously a Non-executive Director of McCarthy & Stone plc, the retirement communities’ developer and manager, from 2015 until its acquisition in early 2021, a Non-executive Director of The St Mungo Community Housing Association, a charity that helps the homeless, and Vice Chair of SCOPE, the national disability charity.