Meet the people behind Aster

Our Executive Board

  • Bjorn Howard Group chief executive, Executive director

    Bjorn became Aster Group’s CEO in 2009 and has been instrumental in driving growth. He led Aster’s successful merger with Synergy Housing in 2012 increasing the group’s housing business to over 28,000 homes.

    Bjorn has worked in the housing, care and support industry for over 25 years and has extensive board-level experience in both executive and non-executive roles. He has served as a non-executive director for an NHS Trust, educational organisations and as a government appointee on a housing association board.

    Bjorn holds a master’s degree in management and is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing and Chartered Management Institute. He is also a member of the Institute of Directors.

  • John Brace Deputy group chief executive, Group resources director

    A chartered accountant, John joined Aster in 2000 as finance director for Sarsen Housing Association. Since then he has been involved in the creation of Silbury Group and Aster Group as well as several mergers, most recently, the successful merger of Synergy Housing with Aster in 2012. He has also led many successful funding initiatives including Aster’s first bond issue in 2013.

    John is a current member and former chair of the National Housing Federation’s Regional Committee in the South West. He is also vice chair of Cottsway, a housing association based in Oxfordshire and a board member of Wiltshire Rural Housing Association.

  • Rachel Credidio Group strategic change director

    Rachel leads the governance, risk, communications, IT, performance and PFI teams for Aster, and also facilitates large change projects.

    She joined Aster Group in 2005 from a housing background, and has worked in a variety of roles from sales to development director.

    Rachel is a qualified practitioner in change management.

  • Amanda Williams Group development director

    Amanda has over 25 years’ experience in development, marketing and asset management for registered social landlords, joining Aster Group in 2012. She was director of business development and drove the strategic direction of the association’s new-build development activity, including becoming an independent preferred investment partner.

    Before Aster, Amanda was head of development for Sanctuary Housing Group for London and the South East, and an associate director of Adams Integra, a consultancy specialising in housing development and planning. She was also director of development for A2 Housing (now A2Dominion) for nine years where she was responsible for growing a mixed development programme from scratch to over 1,000 units per year.

    Amanda is a sponsor governor for the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy.

  • Brian Whittaker Group human resources director

    Brian joined Aster Group in 2007 from Little Chef Restaurants where he was human resources (HR) director.

    Prior to this he led HR for the Intercontinental Hotels Group, having held a number of senior HR posts within the hospitality industry, including at Posthouse Hotels and the Forte Group.

  • Michael Reece Group operations and asset director

    Michael is responsible for all group housing, care and support, asset management and maintenance activities.

    Michael joined Aster Group in 2008 as managing director of Aster Property Management where he progressed to group operations and asset director.

    He has spent over 25 years in the maintenance sector working in a variety of contractor, consultant, local authority and housing association senior roles.

    Michael has extensive experience in improving, restructuring and merging property maintenance functions, including improving direct labour organisations.

    He has quantity surveying qualifications, a law degree and an MBA.

  • Graeme Stanley Group strategy and implementation director

    Graeme is the former chief executive of Synergy Housing. For six years, was a non-executive director of the Independent Housing Ombudsman Service.

    He has held a number of other non-executive director positions, including as a statutory board member of a South West-based housing association. He is currently chair of Bracknell Forest Homes, and a non-executive director of Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, chairing its Audit Committee.

    Graeme is also a non-executive director of M B Crocker Ltd, a significant farming business.