Meet the people behind Aster

Our Executive Board

  • Bjorn Howard Executive director, Group CEO

    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.

  • Rachel Credidio Group people & transformation director

    In her role as Group People & Transformation Director, Rachel is leading a transformation in the way the business engages with its people to drive innovation, creativity, collaboration and productivity.

    Responsible for HR and talent management, communications, IT, business insight, innovation and the project management office, Rachel ensures Aster has the strategic focus, as well as the tools required, to implement change, unlock efficiencies and support new ways of working which will have a positive impact on colleagues and customers.

    With an academic background in psychology, Rachel understands how to get the best out of people and is a qualified change management practitioner.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • Dawn Fowler-Stevens Group growth & assurance director

    Dawn is responsible for Aster’s growth strategy, as well as ensuring the business is sustainable into the future.

    She joined Aster in 2012 following five years at Savills. Here she was an associate director, providing support to housing associations and local authorities focusing on: governance, organisational change, strategic partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, as well as, project management consultancy.

    A career spanning 25 years across the public and private sectors, Dawn’s other areas of expertise include the creation of value through stock transfers, group structure establishment and corporate structure consolidation. Dawn has also served as a board director of a specialist care provider and currently holds other executive directorships on Aster’s PFI and cost-sharing vehicle companies’ boards.

    Dawn is a member of the Chartered Management Institute and the Institute of Business Administrators

  • Chris Benn Group finance director

    Chris joined Aster in 2014, bringing with him extensive experience from the commercial sector.

    Before Aster, Chris held senior finance positions at Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC and Regus PLC. At Euromoney he ensured the finance team were able to support the five-fold profit increase of the Group from both organic growth, and through acquisitions, including the acquisition of a fellow FTSE-250 listed Group. At Regus Chris was involved in the IPO and floatation of Regus’ shares on both the FTSE and NASDAQ indices.

    Chris qualified as a chartered accountant at Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC) in 1994.

  • John Brace 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 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.