Leadership team

Chief Executive

Ian Wardle

Ian Portrait

Ian joined Thirteen as our Chief Executive in 2016. The first ten years of his career were spent in the private sector and the last ten years in local government. Ian started his career in Middlesbrough as a graduate trainee at George Wimpey (now Taylor Wimpey) later becoming a land negotiator, land manager and development director. He was then a project director for the Sunniside Regeneration Project in Sunderland.

Moving into local government, he joined Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, as Head of Regeneration Services, later becoming Director of Regeneration Services with responsibility for a range of front line and corporate services, as well as the delivery of large capital regeneration projects.

Prior to joining Thirteen, Ian was Managing Director of Reading Borough Council with responsibility for delivering hundreds of services across the town, whilst making substantial savings and managing 2,500 colleagues with a turnover of £480m per annum. Ian is currently a governor at Teesside University.

In April 2018 he took over as the secretary for Homes for the North which is an alliance of almost 20 large housing associations who want to deliver more homes across the North of England.

Ian is responsible for leading Thirteen, overseeing the implementation of board decisions, progress towards meeting corporate objectives and ensuring the business continues to move in the right direction.

Executive Director of Resources

Heather Ashton

Heather Ashton Web

Heather is responsible for the group’s support services including finance, IT, HR, research, policy, performance and governance. She also acts as company secretary and leads and provides oversight for the group’s customer income and debt functions.

Heather has worked in the quasi-public sector for the last 10 years in both housing and higher education. She has many years of commercial experience in both the retail and manufacturing sectors.

Having qualified as an accountant a number of years ago, she also holds a Diploma in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors and is a Chartered Member of the CIH.

Executive Director of Service Delivery and Development

Chris Smith

Chris Smith

Chris leads on the neighbourhood functions for Thirteen including housing management, support services, customer experience and regeneration. She is also responsible for the development and delivery of the new homes programme for rent and sale, as well as wider business development opportunities for Thirteen.

Chris is a board member of the Northern Housing Consortium and the Health and Wellbeing Board in Middlesbrough. She is a director of the arcc consortium, a company set up to run the Transforming Rehabilitation contract on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.

Executive Director of Property Services

Russell Thompson

Russell Thompson

Russell has responsibility for Thirteen’s in-house repairs and maintenance function, major refurbishment programmes and investment covering all of the group’s properties as well as neighbourhood services of cleaning, caretaking and concierge services.

This includes managing property assets, contract management, repairs and maintenance, cleaning, caretaking, concierge, investment, surveying and estimating and compliance with property legislation.

Russell has a wide range of experience having worked on major projects with a variety of companies and public sector organisations throughout his career. This covers property services, large organisational change and consultancy support for organisations across the country.