Optivo and Southern Housing Group start merger talks
Leading housing associations Optivo and Southern Housing have agreed to enter merger talks and announced the provisional top team for the new organisation.
Following recent discussions, the boards of both organisations have backed a proposal to look at combining forces. Optivo and Southern Housing Group work alongside each other in many of the same communities. By coming together, the merger aims to create an organisation that’s big but local – rooted in key communities, with the scale to have a greater impact. In challenging times, the merger will build a strong and resilient organisation focused on delivering excellent resident services.
The proposed merger would create a new 77,000 home social landlord.
Under proposals agreed yesterday, the new organisation would be called Southern Housing and key leaders would be:
Chair designate: Sir Peter Dixon, current chair of Optivo and former chair of the Housing Corporation. A vice chair will be appointed from the Southern Housing Group Board
Chief Executive designate: Paul Hackett CBE, current chief executive of Optivo
Deputy Chief Executive designate: Alan Townshend, current chief executive of Southern Housing Group
If detailed talks are successful and the merger goes ahead, the organisation will be headquartered at Fleet House in Farringdon, the current head office of Southern Housing Group. And the back office will be Kent Science Park, where Optivo has a large office. The organisation would also continue to have office space in Birmingham, Croydon, Sussex and on the Isle of Wight.
An engagement programme will be launched to give residents, staff and external partners an opportunity to feed into the detailed discussions. Subject to due diligence and successful negotiations, Optivo and Southern Housing Group hope to complete the merger by December 2022.
Paul Hackett CBE, chief executive of Optivo said:
“By joining forces, we can create an organisation with the strength to deliver for residents through these increasingly challenging times. We’re bringing together two associations with proud histories to create a combined organisation that’s fit for the future.”
Alan Townshend, chief executive of Southern Housing Group said:
“As Optivo and Southern have worked alongside each other in many of the same communities, merger gives us the opportunity to unify our work. We’ll be big but local, deepening our ties to the areas we work in. This will bring real benefits to our residents, our colleagues and our external partners."
Sir Peter Dixon, chair of Optivo said:
“This is a different type of merger, focused on impact rather than expansion. The combined scale of the new organisation in the communities we operate in, will enable us to work with our residents to make a real difference.”