We have 11 trustees, and they are legally responsible for overseeing the work towards our charitable objectives.
Board of Trustees
Our trustees are unpaid board directors, taking collective decisions on policy and strategy and providing oversight of the executive team.
David Orr CBE, chair
David is a hugely experienced leader in both Executive and Non-Executive roles. He has over 30 years of experience in Chief Executive roles, most recently at the National Housing Federation, having previously been Chief Executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations and of Newlon Housing Trust.
In Non-Executive roles, David is Chair of The Good Home Inquiry. He is Chair of Clarion HA Board, Chair of ReSI Housing and ReSI Homes and a board member of Clanmil HA and the National Communities Resource Centre. He is a previous President of Housing Europe and previous Chair of Reall, an international housing development charity. David is also co-Chair of #Housing2030, a joint Housing Europe and UNECE study on affordable housing in the UNECE region and was a member of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Housing, Church and Community Commission.
David is widely regarded as a compelling and inspiring public speaker focusing on the challenge of optimistic leadership and the critical importance of great governance. He has huge media experience, is a well-regarded commentator and blogger, and has extensive expertise navigating the sometimes opaque world of politics and government.
In June 2018 David was awarded a CBE.
Dame Jenny Abramsky
Jenny was appointed as a trustee in September 2016, and was appointed deputy chair in September 2017. She is chair of the Trust's Joint Council & Trustees Appointments Committee and a member of the Audit and Risk Committee. Jenny is chair of the Royal Academy of Music and served six years as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund/National Heritage Memorial Fund, among other voluntary roles. She is the chair of Friends of Kenwood House. She has also been the BBC's director of radio and music after running the BBC's 24 hours news service.
Nigel Annett CBE
Nigel was appointed as a trustee in September 2016. He is a member of the Audit and Risk Committee and chair of the infrastructure Committee. Nigel is currently a non-executive director of the Principality Building Society, and a trustee of Community Foundation in Wales. He is a former managing director of Welsh Water and is co-founder of Glas Cymru, the not-for-profit company that successfully took over the ownership of Welsh Water back in 2001, a move which resulted in the water industry in Wales being owned on behalf of its customers.
Sir James Bevan KCMG
Sir James was the Chief Executive of the Environment Agency from 2015 until 2023, responsible for national flood defence, regulation of industry, nature enhancement and management of the Thames and other waterways for which the EA is the navigation authority.
Before joining the EA, Sir James spent 33 years in the Diplomatic Service. He served in Kinshasa, Brussels, Paris and Washington, was the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Chief Operating Officer and the UK High Commissioner to India from 2011-2015.
Sir James has strong practical expertise in policymaking, outcome delivery, regulation, risk management, relationship-building, media and advocacy, leading change, tackling climate change, protecting the environment and international relations. He is also a canal and narrowboat enthusiast.
Chris was the former Global Head and Chief Investment Officer, Multi Asset Solutions at Manulife Asset Management (Europe) Holdings Ltd. Chris is a highly experienced investment executive with a history of building and growing businesses in the fixed income and multi asset sectors. Chris’ career history has been entirely in the City of London managing investment portfolios for the benefit of pensioners and policy holders. He has experience across all asset classes and in particular making investments based on both capital and environmental concerns.
Chris has a personal passion for canal boating and has travelled extensively on the canal boat network and is determined to help preserve canals for future generations.
Janet was appointed as a trustee in September 2016. She is a member of the Trust's Joint Council & Trustees Appointments Committee and also sits on the Remuneration Committee. Janet was the chief people officer at EDF Energy, having previously worked at BP, where she held a variety of roles, and then at Seagram and at Diageo, leading on a number of global strategy and business specific HR positions.
Sir Chris Kelly
Chris was appointed as a trustee in September 2017 and chairs the Audit & Risk Committee. He is a senior independent director on the Board of the Co-op Group and chairs its insurance subsidiary. He also chairs the Oversight Board of the Office for Budget Responsibility. He has in the past chaired the NSPCC, the Kings Fund, the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Committee on Standards in Public Life, among other bodies. Before that, he was a civil servant, mainly in HM Treasury but subsequently as head of policy at the then Department of Social Security and finally as permanent secretary to the Department of Health.
Bronagh has worked for Severn Trent Plc since 2011 as Group Company Secretary & General Counsel, with executive responsibility for corporate sustainability, reputation risk management, governance, legal affairs, data protection, and regulatory compliance. She was previously HR Director for Mitchells & Butlers Plc. Bronagh is also an experienced non-executive, serving as a director and as Remuneration Committee Chair designate for Wolseley UK, and as a director and as Chair of the HR and Remuneration Committee for British Canoeing for the past six years. Bronagh has a very strong connection with water, especially the wellbeing aspects and sustainability. She lives close to the Grand Union Canal and regularly enjoys time on our canals and waterways.
Ian's executive career began in banking for NatWest Bank and RBS before becoming European Marketing Director for Marsh and then Managing Director of Goldfish Bank. Substantial roles at British Gas followed culminating in the role of CEO. His non-executive experience includes Chair of Barts Health Trust and of British Gas Services, Trustee at Carers UK, and Senior Independent Director of Intelligent Environments plc. He is currently Chair of the UK Health Security Agency and of several data-driven growth technology and energy efficiency companies. Ian has a lifelong affinity with waterways having spent his early life walking the footpaths of the Grand Union and Stratford canals, and at times manning the paddles on the 21 Hatton locks. He has great respect for the industrial achievement and heritage that the canals present and is passionate about physical and mental wellbeing and sustainability.
Jennie Price CBE
Jennie is a lawyer by training and was CEO of Sport England from 2007 until 2018. During that period the organisation's strategy moved towards a broader sport and physical activity agenda with an emphasis on behaviour change. She also commissioned the multi-award winning This Girl Can campaign, and was awarded a CBE for services to sport in 2017. Jennie has also led organisations in the environmental and construction sectors. She now chairs the Independent Board overseeing integrity in tennis and acts as an expert advisor on international sports policy. In 2019 she was also appointed as a Forestry Commissioner. Jennie is a member of the Trust's Audit and Risk Committee.
Tim was appointed as a trustee in September 2016. He is deputy director and chief operating officer of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), the world's leading museum of art and design, since 2013. Tim has overall responsibility for the operation of the museum, including the delivery of a world-class visitor experience. He also led the V&A's support of China Merchant's Group in the creation of the V&A Galleries within a new design museum in Shenzhen, China, which opened to great acclaim in December 2017. Tim is closely involved in establishing V&A East, a dynamic new museum in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London. Before joining the V&A, Tim was girector of Historic Properties at English Heritage. He is a graduate in Ancient History from Royal Holloway, University of London and studied at the Institute of Archaeology (UCL) and INSEAD on its International Executive Programme. He is also a trustee of 'Paintings in Hospitals'.
Last Edited: 22 September 2023