Head of civil service takes up role this summer

Social housing firm Peabody has appointed the outgoing head of the civil service as its new chairman.

Bob Kerslake’s CV also includes a stint as the first chief executive of the Homes and Communities Agency, where he was in the role for two years before moving across to become permanent secretary at the communities and local government department in 2010.

Prior to his role at the HCA, Kerslake spent 11 years as leader of Sheffield city council.

Kerslake takes up his new role this June and replaces Christopher Strickland, who left Peabody at the end of last year after five years in the post.

“It is a privilege to be joining such a distinguished organisation as Peabody and to be part of ensuring its legacy lives on as the organisation evolves,” Kerslake said. “I look forward to helping Peabody fulfil its mission to make London a city of opportunity for all.”

Current vice-chair Malcolm Levi will serve as Peabody’s acting chair until Kerslake’s arrival in the summer.

Kerslake will also take up the role of chairman of the King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in June.

Following its takeover of rival Gallions last year, Peabody now owns and manages around 27,000 homes in the capital and has a development pipeline of 8,000 new homes.

Last month, Haworth Tompkins landed the first big deal to be let under Peabody’s major projects panel with a scheme to design around 400 homes at a former medical teaching campus opposite the Whittington Hospital in north London.

Kerslake is succeeded at the Department for Communities and Local Government by Melanie Dawes, who will take up the post of permanent secretary on 1 March 2015. She was previously head of the economic and domestic secretariat in the Cabinet Office.