Nick Horne is Chief Executive of Knightstone Housing, a leading affordable housing provider with 11,500 homes - mostly in the West of England and Somerset. He also sits on the Board of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). We met Nick to have a chat about his roles and the challenges he sees coming in 2016.
Talking about his position on the Board of the West of England LEP, Nick explained that he is one of the new 2015 business member appointments. He was delighted to be appointed after an open and rigorous selection process and to have the opportunity to represent the housing sector at this strategic level. Nick is hugely passionate about housing, and the West of England region.
Nick joined Knightstone Housing as Finance Director in 1996, before becoming Chief Executive in 1998. It's an organisation he's proud to lead. He describes Knightstone as being about creating great places and communities, not just about building homes (although the delivery of new homes is a significant part of what Knightstone does). The organisation's philosophy includes empowering residents to create strong and vibrant communities, where people want to make their homes.
Nick understands that for Knightstone to continue to thrive, it will need to continually adapt as a business. The leadership team and staff will need to change and be flexible in their approach, to continue to deliver great services to their residents. Nick explained that this is particularly true at the moment, as Knightstone is operating in a constantly changing housing landscape; the current government has introduced a raft of new policies that mean sweeping change across the sector. Remaining agile will be the key to success.
Talking about leadership, Nick explained that he is a great believer in having a strong vision to provide clarity in an organisation, as this gives people something to strive towards. He also values being challenged and having an open forum for discussing ideas. Nick believes that, as CEO, he must work with Knightstone's Board of Non-Executive Directors and the Executive Team to refine his views and ideas to ensure the best outcomes for the business and its customers.
Moon Consulting are specialists in recruiting Non-Executive Directors and members of leadership teams, so we talked to Nick about what he looks for in these roles. He believes Non-Executive Directors must ensure the organisation is delivering against its long-term purpose and vision and with the right values. Nick believes that having a short statement of purpose - 'what are we here to do?' - that is understood by all non-executives, executives and staff is one of the touchstones of a successful business, along with strong governance and being transparent in decision making.
Moving on to discuss the challenges that Knightstone faces as a business, the biggest is managing the impact of the changed political climate and changing government priorities. National policy changes towards increasing home ownership and reducing the welfare bill are key issues that affect long term investment in homes and communities, so again Nick highlighted the need to be adaptable and to work positively with government to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes for places and people.
When we asked him about Moon Consulting, Nick said that he knows we have a great reputation and he's seen the work we've done around Non-Executive Directors. He's also impressed with our social media presence!
From our meeting, we could see that Nick is extremely committed to this region. He loves what he does and runs a successful, high-profile business.
About Nick Horne
Nick grew up in Cornwall, lives and works in North Somerset and is currently Chief Executive at Knightstone, a position he has held since 1998, having previously been Finance Director.
Nick brings over 25 years' experience of housing, development, finance, leadership and management to the West of England LEP Board and is a leading voice for the housing sector in the West of England and Somerset.
He trained as a Chartered Accountant with EY in Bristol in the 1980s and has over 20 years' experience as a Non-Executive Director. In 2013/14 Nick chaired the Bristol Homes Commission, set up to recommend ways of increasing the supply of new and affordable homes in Bristol.
Nick is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (The RSA). Prior to Knightstone, Nick had successful commercial careers in corporate acquisitions, property development, house building and construction with Norwest Holst in the North West of England and in the accounting profession with EY in Bristol and Southampton.
About Moon Consulting
Moon Consulting is your Trusted Advisor in Executive Search & Selection, Talent Management and Business Consulting. We build long-term relationships with businesses to secure high-performance candidates by identifying needs, finding the right talent and integrating leaders into organisations. Moon Consulting has extensive expertise and knowledge of the market, with a proven and impressive track record of delivery even in niche markets.