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Watkin Jones strengthens Executive team with two hires

Watkin Jones has announced two new appointments – further strengthening its Executive team.

Watkin Jones, the UK’s leading developer and manager of residential for rent homes, with a focus on the purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), Build to Rent and co-living sectors, announces two new appointments to its Executive team – as the Group continues to build its breadth and depth of expertise.

Kerry Watson joined as Group Company Secretary from multi-national retailer Next plc in April 2021, while Craig Wilcockson will arrive as Chief People Officer in August 2021 from leading housing association, Orbit Group.

“We are a people-led business, so I’m thrilled that our success continues to attract the most talented people to join us. Adding Kerry and Craig to the Executive team is a marker of our intent and clear plan to develop as a group. Both bring fantastic and broad expertise to help us continually enhance the skills of our people, and our service for our customers.”

“This is a hugely exciting time for the residential for rent sector. We continue to see very strong demand for every aspect of the Group’s specialist skills, with institutional investors looking for the best quality sites and buildings, alongside renters demanding the lifestyle and service Fresh management offers.”

Richard Simpson, Chief Executive Officer, Watkin Jones

Before joining Next plc, Kerry held company secretarial roles in the energy and engineering sectors. Her experience will strengthen the Group’s legal, compliance and social responsibility capabilities.

“Watkin Jones has tapped into a real change in how people want to live, and I’m enjoying being part of shaping the company’s ongoing success. It’s been a brilliant start and the Group is in an amazing place to continue creating the future of living.”

Kerry Watson, Group Company Secretary, Watkin Jones

Craig brings a wealth of experience in HR roles across a wide range of organisations. In his current role as the Group Director of People and Strategy at Orbit Group, the organisation was placed twice in the prestigious Sunday Times 100 and Best Companies to Work for awards.

Craig Wilcockson, incoming Chief People Officer, Watkin Jones | PBSA News
Craig Wilcockson, incoming Chief People Officer, Watkin Jones.

“Watkin Jones has a superb reputation for bringing in the best expertise, as well as the unrivalled dedication of its people to deliver an excellent living experience for our clients’ customers. I look forward to working throughout the Group to create an environment where these highly skilled people will thrive and drive the company’s ambitious growth targets.”

Craig Wilcockson, incoming Chief People Officer, Watkin Jones

The appointments to the Group’s Executive team follow the arrivals earlier in the year of Jeremy Fletcher as CEO of Watkin Jones specialist rental asset manager, Fresh, and Richard Harris as Managing Director Delivery. Richard previously led the EMEA Capital Works Team for JLL’s Hotels and Hospitality division.

Watkin Jones also recently announced that Phil Byrom will retire as Chief Financial Officer in June 2022 following over 20 years’ service, recruitment is well advanced for his successor.

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