Aster Group appoints Stephen Trusler as new Chair

Housing association Aster Group has appointed Stephen Trusler as its new Non-Executive Chair, as current Chair Mike Biles stands down at the end of his term.

Stephen brings with him over 40 years’ experience of working with a number of large organisations in the housing sector at an Executive and Non-Executive level. As a long-standing ambassador for the housing sector, Stephen has also been a participant in industry think tanks and appeared regularly at key conferences.  

As Aster continues to modernise its customer service offer, Stephen’s strong track record of advising corporations on their customer-centric and growth strategies will be invaluable to the business. 

Stephen, who takes over as Chair on 3 November, has previously been one of Aster’s Non-Executive members, and formerly chaired its Remunerations and Nominations Committee.

Joining Stephen on the Board is Mehul Desai, who joins as a Non-Executive Director. Mehul is currently Chief of Staff to HSBC’s UK Chief Operating Officer.

Aster, led by Group CEO Bjorn Howard, owns and manages more than 36,000 homes across the south of England and London, with a portfolio that includes social and affordable rent and shared ownership homes. The Group has G1 governance and V1 financial viability ratings from the Regulator of Social Housing and models its governance on the UK Corporate Governance Code.

Stephen Trusler, the new Non-Executive Chair of Aster Group, said: “Aster has continued to grow and navigate some hugely difficult headwinds, not least COVID-19. I look forward to building on Mike’s hard work and supporting Bjorn and the Executive Board to deliver Aster’s vision that everyone has a home.”

Bjorn Howard, Group CEO of Aster Group, added: “Mike has provided counsel and support during one of the most challenging passages of time this country has faced. His experience and commitment have helped the Group not just navigate these challenges but grow and thrive despite them. On behalf of the Board, everyone at Aster and myself, we wish Mike the very best for the future and want to extend a very warm welcome to Stephen who we’re delighted to welcome to the Group.”

Outgoing Non-Executive Chair Dr Mike Biles said: “I’m proud to have played a role in the progress Aster has made in recent years and I’m confident that the Group will continue its upward trajectory in the years to come. Stephen’s expertise and knowledge of the business make him the right candidate for me to hand the baton on to. I wish him and everyone at Aster success.”

The new appointments come after a transformative year for the business. Aster recently reported record revenue turnover of £301m, up from £241m in 2022. 2022/23 also marked a record year for Aster delivering 1,312 properties – its highest annual total of homes to date, putting the housing association seventh in the ‘Top 50 Biggest Builders Survey 2023’, up from 14th the previous year. As part of its commitment to maintaining its existing portfolio, Aster also invested £83m, up from £69m in 2022, across its estate of over 36,000 properties, with over 120,000 repairs completed.

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