Former British Property Federation boss among four new senior appointees at institution

Former British Property Federation boss Liz Peace has replaced Michael Bichard as senior independent governor at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Peace, who is also currently the chair of the Greater London Authority’s Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation, the body overseeing one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe, took up the RICS post at the beginning of January.

Bichard, a civil servant who led the review of the RICS following a major governance scandal, had proposed the senior independent governor role as part of his reforms and held the post from August 2022 until the end of last year.


Liz Peace has replaced Michael Bichard in a key RICS role

Commenting on her appointment, Peace admitted that she had not always seen eye to eye with the RICS but had worked alongside the organisation for 20 years.

“I have, in the past, challenged RICS’s position on some matters, but I do genuinely believe it has a crucial role to play in ensuring that real estate acts as a responsible industry, embracing the change necessary to continue to deliver the places that society needs in order to flourish,” she said.

Peace added: “I am thoroughly looking forward to working more closely with the presidential team and with the rest of the RICS organisation to support the changes recommended by Lord Bichard and to help the organisation realise its full potential as one of the most important influencers on the future behaviours and performance of the real estate world.”

She joins three other new senior appointees at the institution selected by a recruitment process late last year.

University of Derby chair Gurpreet Dehal has joined as an independent member of the governing council and will work alongside Peace to provide an independent perspective to the institution’s highest governance body.

Kelly Olsen and former Gleeds director Douglas McCormick have both been appointed to the RICS board, with the latter also joining as chair of the membership services committee.

The RICS has experienced a higher than usual period of senior staff turnover since the governance scandal in 2021 which led to the resignations of four senior leaders including former chief executive Sean Tompkins.

The institution was rocked in June last year by the mass walkout of the entire membership of its standards and regulations board after it emerged that the governing council planned to transfer some of the board’s responsibilities to a different body.