Kevin Bolt to head up non-compliant association at ‘crucial moment’ as it enters merger talks with Abri

Octavia Housing has hired Kevin Bolt as managing director to lead the troubled association as it enters merger talks with 50,000-home Abri Group.

Bolt, formerly chief executive of 19,500-home BPHA, will take over in January, when chief executive Sandra Skeete stands down.

Bolt said he is looking forward to joining Octavia at a “crucial moment in its history” as the 5,000-home association seeks a merger partner in a bid to regain compliance with the Regulator of Social Housing’s governance and financial viability standard.

Bolt said: “Throughout the interview process, I met with passionate individuals who I look forward to working with to ensure Octavia continues to build on its legacy to help more people live independently.” 

Octavia, which owns 5,000 homes, is currently non-compliant with the RSH’s governance and financial viability standard because of its poor financial planning and ‘unrealistic budgets’.

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RSH in September gave Octavia a ‘G3’ and ‘V3’ rating for governance and viability respectively, meaning it must improve. As part of its plan agreed with RSH to improve its governance and strengthen its finances, it hired Savills to carry out a selection process for a potential merger partner and 50,000-home Abri has been chosen.

The exact form of merger or partnership has yet to be decided and the associations have not yet agreed to an outline business case.