Leadership team

Chief Executive

Ian Wardle

Ian Wardle 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.

Before joining Thirteen, Ian was Managing Director of Reading Borough Council with responsibility for delivering hundreds of services across the town, while making substantial savings and managing 2,500 colleagues with a turnover of £480m per year.

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.

Ian has held a number of non-executive and trustee roles for a housing association, university, community interest company, a charity and a school. Ian is currently a board member for the Northern Housing Consortium.

Executive Director of Business Change and Improvement

Heather Ashton

Heather Ashton

Heather is responsible for the group’s business change and improvement functions including corporate affairs (communications, influencing, impact, research, policy and insight), IT, people (HR, OD, reward and recognition) cyber and data compliance.

Heather has worked in the quasi-public sector for the last 15 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 Business Growth

Chris Smith

Chris Smith

Chris leads on business growth for Thirteen, which includes identifying and developing bids and securing new business ventures, contracts, partnerships and commissioned/contracted services, and working with partners to create housing and service solutions for their housing, support and care needs.

Chris also focuses on strategic partnerships with Homes England, local authorities, health organisations, universities, and the community and voluntary sector. The team also leads on the physical shaping of neighbourhoods and optimisation of our services and products around our existing homes, new homes and neighbourhoods, including community development/social regeneration.

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 Assets

Paul Jenkins

Paul Jenkins

Paul is the strategic lead on property compliance, building safety, asset optimisation, investment planning and delivery for Thirteen. Paul also leads on implementing our stock environmental management activity, focusing on decarbonisation, sustainability and climate change adaptation.

In addition, Paul is responsible for the facilities management services delivered by Thirteen.

Paul is a Chartered member of the Institute of Civil Engineers with a background in consulting engineering, strategic asset management and infrastructure investment. He is from Teesside and passionate about making a difference across the boundaries of the Tees Valley.

Executive Director of Customer Services

David Ripley

David Ripley

David's role is to focus on customer experience, including neighbourhood operations, repairs and support services, ensuring these services meet customers’ housing and support needs and going beyond to really delight our customers. 

We'll have more details about David and his role soon.

Chief Finance Officer

Jane Castor

Jane Castor

Jane manages the financial affairs and financial  strategy of Thirteen, leads on governance and acts as company secretary.

Jane is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and has a wealth of financial, commercial and governance experience gained in the public and private sector.

Before joining Thirteen, Jane worked at Homes England and its predecessor bodies for the last 16 years, most recently as Finance Director with responsibility for multi-billion pound annual budgets and balance sheet. 

Jane is from Teesside and is keen to ensure that we optimise the efficient use of resources to have a positive impact on customers.

Interim Chief Development Officer

Colin Rae

Colin Rae

Colin leads Thirteen Group’s development programme, delivering homes for affordable rent and shared ownership, as well as market sale homes via Thirteen Homes and independent living schemes. 

He has more than 35 years’ experience in development and construction, and before joining Thirteen was group executive director for development at Places for People, where he was responsible for a £200m UK-wide development programme encompassing several large-scale, multi-tenure development projects.

Colin has a strong interest in off-site construction and sustainable, zero carbon development and is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Academy of Urbanism the Chartered Institute of Housing.