CHIEF EXECUTIVE – Nigel Howell
Having joined FirstPort as Group Chief Financial Officer in January 2013, Nigel was appointed Chief Executive in February 2015. He has led a significant performance turnaround at the company with a clear focus on strategy, customer service, staff engagement, and safety – delivering for customers, clients, and investors alike, whilst creating a sense of pride amongst colleagues.
Nigel’s career has included working in senior finance, strategy, and business development roles at Morrison plc, Hawker Siddeley, Shell, Cable & Wireless, and Centrica/British Gas, both in the UK and overseas. Nigel is a Trustee on the board of Trust for London, a qualified accountant (FCMA), Chartered Director (CDir), and a Member of the Institute of Residential Property Management (MIRPM).
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER – David Young
David joined FirstPort in March 2020 and has a wealth of experience leading large, field-based, consumer, commercial and residential customer service businesses.
David was previously Director of British Gas’ Service and Repair business where he was responsible for ten million customer visits per year through a large nationwide servicing engineer network. He has also worked as Commercial Director for Carilion Energy Services, Operations Director for Homeserve and Head of Roadside for RAC. MBA-qualified, David’s expertise includes service delivery, operations management, facilities management and business transformation.
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER – Ouda Saleh
Ouda joined FirstPort in May 2013 having held a number of senior financial roles in a related sector and has amassed over 10 years of experience in senior and middle manager roles at large organisations including Mears Plc, HMRC and a top 10 audit practice. This experience, along with his technical knowledge and strong interpersonal skills, provides the financial and commercial leadership needed to FirstPort and its customers. Ouda is a fellow Chartered Certified Accountant (FCCA) and a member of the Institute of Residential Property Management (IRPM).
HEAD OF HEALTH AND SAFETY – Mark Varley
Mark joined FirstPort in May 2014 as Group Head of Health and Safety and also has responsibility for management of the office portfolio. His previous roles include Head of Health and Safety for Metropolitan Housing and Care and Support, UK Health, Safety and Environment Manager for E.ON and Health and Safety Director for Associated Training and Consultancy. Mark is a Chartered Member of the Institution of Safety and Health and a Member of the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management with over 20 years’ experience in health and safety and an Associate of the Institute of Property Managers (IRPM).
DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, MARKETING AND COMMUNICATION – Martin King
Martin joined FirstPort in September 2016 as Director of Business Development, Marketing and Communication, having left CBRE Asset Services and Rating where he was Head of Business Development. With over 15 years at board level, Martin brings a wealth of experience in delivering increased sales and sustained company growth.
DIRECTOR OF HR – Michael Venus
Michael joined FirstPort in February 2020 and has a wealth of experience leading HR teams and delivering complex change programmes. Michael previously worked for Multiplex, where he was Human Resources Director. He has also worked as Human Resources Director for Future plc and has been Head of Resourcing and Development and Head of HR for AutoTrader UK.
Michael’s expertise covers generalist HR, organisational design, leadership and management development, talent acquisition and employee relations. Michael is certified to SDI Level 1, LSi, MBTI Steps 1 and 2 and is an accredited workplace mediator.
CHIEF TECHNICAL OFFICER – Heather Payne
Heather joined FirstPort in 2019, bringing a wealth of experience in delivering technology to improve customer experience, as well as a huge passion for people and business improvement. Heather is responsible for FirstPort’s digital transformation programme, introducing new process and technology into our business to help enhance our customers’, clients’ and colleagues’ experiences.
Heather has spent her whole career successfully delivering digital transformation across multiple sectors. She was previously Chief Technology Officer at Avon Cosmetics responsible for technical delivery, innovation, information security and enterprise architecture, including unlocking the business’s digital and e-commerce capabilities across mobile and online applications. Prior to Avon, Heather held roles as CTO of Engineering at DMG Media, and Group Head of Software Development and Head of IT at Thomas Cook Group and Hotels 4U.
MANAGING DIRECTOR, FIRSTPORT RETIREMENT PROPERTY SERVICES – Keith Shields
Joining FirstPort in February 2015, Keith brings with him a wealth of experience as a senior manager in roles across the services industry – from catering to facilities management. Keith’s most recent role, prior to joining FirstPort, was as Head of Facilities & Asset Management for Lend Lease Europe and looked after their UK business.
DIRECTOR OF LEGAL – Russell Tillison
Russell joined FirstPort in January 2015 to lead our large in-house legal team. Whilst Russell performs a general counsel role he is a specialist real estate solicitor with wide experience in the sector. In the past, Russell has worked for one of the worlds largest law firms and been part of the Chief Operating Officers legal team at Barclays Bank. Russell gained significant experience of property management whilst working in private practice having advised clients such as Barclays, Sainsbury’s, Westfield Shopping Centres, Virgin, Network Rail – along with many others in relation to issues affecting their property portfolios. He is a qualified lawyer (LLB Hons), a member of the senior executive board at FirstPort and a Member of the Institute of Residential Property Management (IRPM).
DIRECTOR FOR INDUSTRY ENGAGEMENT – Felix Keen
Felix has enjoyed a career in the wider property sector spanning over 20 years. Joining FirstPort in 2002, Felix has held board level roles in Human Resources, Property Management (where he led the Resident Management Company Division) and latterly Director for Industry Engagement.
His diverse background gives him a unique perspective which has allowed him to lead several major projects for FirstPort, including due diligence and mobilisation. Felix’s previous roles were within the property divisions of the Metropolitan Police Services and Carillion where he was involved in several large scale Public Sector transfers and mobilisations.
Felix has been Chairman of the Institute of Residential Property Management, the governing body for accrediting property managers, and involved in several industry groups helping government reform leasehold policy.
DIRECTOR OF IT – Anthony Vaz
Anthony joined FirstPort in August 2015 and was promoted to Director of IT in May 2017. With a successful background of senior IT Leadership roles working for such companies as Tesco, Thompson Reuters and BMI Healthcare, Anthony has amassed over 20 years of experience. He’s incredibly passionate about technology, and about how technology can deliver real and exciting benefits to FirstPort, our colleagues, customers, clients and contractors.