Gentoo boss Peter Walls steps down

Gentoo CEO Peter Walls
Gentoo CEO Peter Walls
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Gentoo boss Peter Walls is leaving the city housing firm.

The chief executive today announced that he is stepping down with immediate effect, but will remain associated with the company in a variety of community roles until he leaves the business in April.

Peter Walls

I’ve been privileged to lead Gentoo, and to have been part of its growth and change for so long.

Gentoo chairman John Walker said: “Peter’s outstanding energy and vision has driven Gentoo forward.

“It is an innovative and entirely customer-centred organisation, with an extraordinarily positive staff culture.

“The group and the customers of Gentoo are all in his debt, and we wish Peter the best in his future plans.

“We are pleased that he will remain associated with Gentoo in various community roles, and look forward to working with him in those capacities in future.”

Operational running of Gentoo will be handed over to Deputy Chief Executive John Craggs.

“John Craggs is widely-known and respected across Gentoo, the North East and housing more widely,” said Mr Walker.

“He will take the reins at a time of change and challenge, and with the full support of the board and Peter Walls.”

Peter Walls has been Group Chief Executive of Gentoo since the original transfer of the city council’s housing stock to the private sector in 2001, and before that had worked in local government for 30 years, ending up as Director of Health and Housing in Sunderland from 1979 to 2001. “I’ve been privileged to lead Gentoo, and to have been part of its growth and change for so long,” he said.

“Together with all my colleagues, we have been able to improve housing, communities and lives across Sunderland and beyond, and can all be proud of what’s been achieved.

“Now, a new era is starting, for Gentoo and for housing associations more widely, and I’m leaving a great organisation and a great team for a new leadership to take forward.”

* Gentoo announced last month that it will have to make major redundancies as it looks to make up an £72million funding shortfall.

The company, which manages more than 30,000 homes and has 70,000 customers, needs to save £18million a year for the next four years.

Gentoo Sunderland, which has 1,915 employees, is one of the city’s biggest employers.

The firm blamed reductions in social housing rents announced in the summer Budget and other welfare reforms for the decision.

The firm warned ‘a significant proportion’ of the savings would have to come from staffing costs.