Board and management
Link Group Ltd is governed by a voluntary Board of Management which is elected at its annual general meeting each year.
The Board meets on a bi-monthly basis and is responsible for setting Link’s strategic direction. Some of the board's main functions are:
- Borrowing and investing funds
- Approving policies
- Approving Link's development programme
- Approving annual business plans, accounts and budgets
- Considering and approving new initiatives
- Appointing board/committee members
- Approving the appointment of the chief executive and directors
Link Group Board of Management
- Ross Martin - Chair
Ross has played roles in advisory, executive and leadership capacities, all of which have been focused on strengthening the resilience of Scotland’s economy.
Currently engaged at Scottish, UK and European levels, he is active in various local projects across the country.
He has a long track record of place-making and public service provision, with a range of roles which have engaged directly with the housing sector, including leading two highly regarded local authorities, working with major housebuilders and setting the policy context for housing through the planning system.
Ross spent his formative years in Wester Hailes, and although his childhood was a very active and happy experience, the setting taught him several valuable lessons regarding housing provision and its role within wider society which he hopes will help him contribute positively to the strategic development of Link.
Ross joined the board in May 2016.
- Petra Biberbach - Vice Chair
Petra is the chief executive of award-winning national charity, PAS.
With a career spanning public, private and third sector, Petra brings a wealth of expertise in the fields of planning, sustainable development, renewable energy, community engagement and research.
Petra has lived and worked in continental Europe (Germany & Switzerland) and helped to develop a sustainable tourism business in the Harz National Park in rural Germany.
Petra is also serving as a board member of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority, is on the board of ACOSVO, a member of the Strategic Historic Environment Forum (SHEF) and a non-executive director at Zero Waste Scotland.
Petra joined the board in January 2016.
- Andrew Smith - Vice Chair
Andrew retired in 2009 after a successful 38-year career with Bank of Scotland, during which he was involved with internal audit, relationship management and credit sanctioning.
He now works part-time for Executive Benefit Consultancy Ltd, as well as assisting in his wife’s accountancy / Sage training /supply business, The Bottom Line.
Andrew is a member of The Institute of Bankers (Glasgow District Committee) and is on the Management Council of The Western Club in Glasgow. He is also a member of Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust credit panel and is a mentor with Scotland Chambers of Commerce.
Andrew brings to Link a wealth of practical financial experience as well as business and organisational skills.
Andrew joined the board in January 2013.
- Caroline Donaldson
Caroline is one of the founding Directors of Kynesis, a leading Executive Coaching organisation in Scotland.
During the past 20 years she has worked in consultancy roles and brings a wide variety of experience to the Link Group Board, including her knowledge of operations, sales and human resources.
Caroline also has a keen interest in the behavioural aspects of Executive and Board development.
She is a member of the Institute of Directors, a member of the CIPD, European Mentoring and Coaching Council and a board member of the Arches in Glasgow.
Caroline joined the board in January 2011.
- Ian Dickson
Ian is a qualified accountant and during the past 30 years, has worked for a variety of public and private sector companies including Waverley Housing Ltd and Match Point Hospitality.
He is the owner of ID Financial Management, a consultancy company which has taken on interim and project roles across different businesses and sectors, covering business planning and raising finance, insolvency work and introducing management information systems and KPI/reporting procedures.
Ian is an associate of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and brings his experience of working in the charity sector as well as being a non-executive director of a large social enterprise.
Ian joined the board in March 2014.
- Douglas Mackie
Dougie is a retired Principal Teacher of Geography and Guidance who worked at Oban High School throughout his 35-year teaching career.
For many years, Dougie was a prominent lay activist within Scotland's largest teacher trade union, The Educational Institute of Scotland. He was National President in 2003/04 and, prior to retiral in 2011, was the union's salary convener and Joint Chair (teachers' side) of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers.
Dougie was also an employers' nominated trustee of the Institute's Pension Fund and a Director of EIS Financial Services.
He has been a board member of West Highland Housing Association since 2012 and is currently its chair.
Dougie joined the board in December 2015.
- Christopher Allan
Chris is a partner in one of Scotland’s largest law firms, specialising in Corporate Finance and Corporate Governance. He has acted for registered social landlord clients for almost 15 years, advising them on a wide range of requirements, primarily finance and related issues.
He is dual-qualified in both Scotland and England and Wales; and holds the Securities and Investments Institute’s Certificate in Corporate Finance.
In addition to the Link Group voluntary board, Chris sits on the voluntary board of a charity which operates a wide range of sports and fitness centres throughout the Perth and Kinross area.
Christopher joined the board in October 2016.
- John Flaherty
In addition to his role on the Link Group Board, John is also the chair of the Link Housing Board, and brings a practical perspective on tenancy management, customer involvement and tenancy sustainment.
John is an Area Housing Manager with Fife Council and manages a separate team with the role of developing effective tenancy sustainment initiatives Fife-wide.
He previously had long-term responsibility for Homelessness Assessment and Temporary Accommodation across the region.
John has an interest in staff succession planning in the housing sector and plays an active role in the development of Fife’s Modern Apprentices in his post as lecturer in housing with Fife College, delivering SVQ and CiH qualifications.
John joined the board in August 2017.
- Caroline Cuthbertson
Caroline has worked in corporate banking for almost 30 years across a variety of roles, including the relationship bank, restructuring, risk management and MBO and acquisition funding.
She has undertaken leadership roles for more than 15 years, leading large and small teams across Scotland and in the North of England.
Caroline is a qualified Chartered Accountant (ICAS), she has an MBA and is a Fellow of the Institute of Bankers. She is a member of ICAS regional committee and is a member of the Institute of Directors.
Caroline brings a wide variety of experience but in particular financial, risk management and leadership expertise. She is a Pro Bono volunteer for Inspiring Scotland, in addition to a Board Member for PAS Scotland (Planning Aid Scotland).
Caroline joined the board in November 2018.
- David Bittleston
David has spent the last few years as Leader of Woking Borough Council guiding the Council through more than £1 billion worth of housing developments, including the regeneration of Sheerwater, a 1950’s council estate and the redevelopment of Woking’s town centre. He is also a director of Thameswey Housing Ltd. and Thameswey Developments Ltd. Which are responsible for delivering both environmentally friendly affordable and social homes. He introduced the Earn Your Deposit Scheme for Thameswey tenants to help them to buy a home of their own.
David trained as a builder but spent his formative years in industry as a Marketeer with senior roles in Unigate, Gist Brocades and Shell Gas. In 1989 he set up his own marketing company which he sold in 2015 in order to concentrate on his role in Woking Borough Council.
David and his wife Elly built an environmentally friendly house in Crinan, which has an annual energy cost of less than £100. They moved to Crinan in 2018 and David joined the board of West Highland Housing Association in 2019.
David joined the board in November 2020
- Shona Blackhall
Shona is a tenant from central Falkirk. She is the Chairperson of the Grahamston Link Tenants and Residents Association, one of Link’s registered tenant organisations. The group works with Link to improve the local area, hold community events and encourage local people to respond to housing policy consultations.
In addition, Shona was previously a member of Link’s Tenant Scrutiny Panel, which has a formal role to play in measuring Link’s performance against the Scottish Social Housing Charter outcomes and making recommendations for improving housing services.
In her spare time Shona volunteers to play the organ at her local church and attends various classes at Link Academy.
Shona joined the Board in January 2021
- Paul Kerr
Paul is a chartered Chemical Engineer with 32 years’ experience in Scotland’s water industry.
During that time, he has worked across many areas such as Asset Management, Customer Service, Business Transformation, Operations, Capital Investment and Commercial services.
He is currently the MD of Scottish Water Horizons, the commercial arm of Scottish Water, responsible for identifying, developing, and delivering innovative, profitable, and sustainable opportunities from Scottish Water’s assets.
Paul joined the Board in May 2021