Executive Board

Meet our Executive Board

Executive Board

Dr Christopher Handy OBE, Chief Executive

Chris has a Doctorate in Business Administration, a Master of Law degree and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing.

He received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2009 and in 2010 was made a Professor of Governance by Birmingham City University’s Business School.

He has been Chief Executive of Accord and its precursors for over 25 years, previously working in other housing organisations and local government.

Chris is a published author with titles including ‘Housing Association Law’ Fifth Edition published in January 2019 with Professor John Alder and ‘Discrimination in Housing’ and he is a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Housing Law.

Chris is a Non-Executive Director of the Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group having previously been a board member for the Strategic Health Authority for the Midlands and East of England.

He is a Board member of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership Board, chairing the Board during 2018-2019, leading on housing, enterprise and the green growth agendas for the region.



Alan Yates OBE, Deputy Chief Executive

Alan has over 25 years’ senior management experience in the affordable housing sector in regeneration and development having joined the sector from the construction industry.

Originally qualified in building, he has also completed executive training in Advanced Management Practice at Henley Business School.

Alan has a particular interest in low carbon housing and is Chairman of the Sustainable Housing Action Partnership (SHAP).

He is the Chairman of the NHF Regional Investment Group, a member of the national NHF “Great Homes Group”. Alan is also a Non- Executive Board member of Walsall NHS Healtcare Trust.

Alan also established award winning Local Homes (part of Accord) which is the first offsite manufacturer of low carbon homes by a housing association.

Alan was awarded an OBE for services to housing in 2019.

Maxine Espley, Executive Director of Health, Social Care and Support

Maxine joined Accord Housing Association in September 2015 after spending 12 years as a Director in the NHS.

She was the Managing Director of Community and Mental Health Services for a Primary Care Trust and more latterly the Director of Planning and Contracting for a large Acute and Community NHS Trust where she led strategy, growth, service transformation and contracting.

Maxine has 30 years’ experience of working within health and social care settings.

She started her career as a social worker before moving to the role of Development Manager for a national mental health charity.

Maxine then joined a Midlands based Housing Association as a Regional Manager for Care and Support where she spent 10 years before her move to the NHS.

Maxine is a current Board member of the National Care Forum, a membership body for not for profit care support providers.

Stuart Fisher, Executive Director of Resources

Stuart is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and joined Accord from KPMG where he delivered a range of services to the social housing sector, central government departments, regulatory bodies and the NHS.

Stuart is responsible for all aspects of the Accord’s financial and treasury management, Information Systems, Risk Management and Health and Safety and also leads on delivering the Group’s value for money strategy.

In addition to being a member of the National Housing Federation West Midlands Regional Committee Stuart is a Non-Executive Director at Orbit Group where he sits on the Board of Orbit Treasury Limited and its Audit and Risk Assurance Committee.

Stuart is also a member of the Housing SORP working party.





Sara Woodall, Executive Director of Homes and Communities

Sara has a law degree and started her housing career as a housing management trainee at Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.

She then became an estate officer for Dudley before moving to Wolverhampton Metropolitan Borough Council as a District Housing Manager in 1990.

In 1994, Sara moved to Jephson Housing Association as a housing manager, joining Accord in October 1999 as Director of Housing Services.

She then took on a corporate role in 2009 as Director of Corporate Housing Services where she also had the strategic lead and overall management responsibility for Moseley and District Housing, before becoming the Chief Executive of Heantun Housing Association in June 2014.

Sara is a member of the Birmingham Social Housing Partnership (BSHP) and sits on Walsall’s Homeless Steering Group and Walsall Housing Partnership.







If you have any queries you would like to put to the Board, please email Dawn Hendon, Head of Governance and Corporate Affairs.