Board Member Profiles

Discover more about our board members

duncan mcechran
Duncan McEachran BA CA
Chair

Duncan was elected to the Board in August 2012 and was elected as Chair in August 2016. Duncan is Chair of the Scotland Committee of the Riverside Group and a member of Riverside's Neighbourhood Services Committee.

Duncan is a chartered accountant with a career in the National Health Service and the petrochemicals and plastics industries encompassing appointments as Director of Finance and Chief Internal Auditor. Duncan has led projects in areas such as business planning, IT/IS Strategy, organisational change and reconfiguration, contract negotiation, governance and financial management and reporting.

In the last 10 years Duncan’s community activities have included Children’s Health Scotland, The Richmond Fellowship Scotland, The Food Train, The Cattanach Charitable Trust, Justice of the Peace Advisory Committee (South Strathclyde, Dumfries & Galloway) and Relationships Scotland Dumfries & Galloway.

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Chris Bell

Chris was appointed to the Board in 2011. Chris has a diploma in Horticulture and also in Land Management & Recreation and is a Member of the Institute of Groundsmen.

Following a career with Her Majesty’s Armed Forces (Army), Chris worked for both private and public organisations, locally with Irvine Development Corporation as Head of Landscape Division providing landscape construction and land management services. Chris has also worked as a freelance horticulture consultant and was Superintendent of Parks and Grounds with Edinburgh City Council where he had responsibility for horticultural management and exterior of housing stock.

Chris is a tenant representative on the Board.

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Janice Murray

Janice was appointed to the Board in 2015 is a member of the Audit & Risk Committee. Janice was a member of Irvine Housing Association’s tenant scrutiny panel for 2 years, during which time she gained her CIH Level 3 in Resident Scrutiny Involvement.

Janice has a diploma in Fashion Manufacturing & Marketing and has over 20 years’ experience in community involvement, ranging from supporting and setting up a variety of projects to volunteering within her local community in youth groups and within local schools. Previously Janice was a Group Board Tenant Observer and held the position of Secretary with the Riverside Tenant Federation, now known as Riverside Customer Voice. Janice is currently serving as Vice Chair of SHOUT Kinship Support Group in North Ayrshire and is a member of Irvine Seniors Forum and is an interim member in Locality Partnership North Ayrshire.

Janice is a tenant representative on the Board.

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Gerard Darroch
Gerard Darroch

Gerard was formally elected to the Board in August 2016 and is a member of the Scotland Committee of the Riverside Group. Gerry holds a Master of Arts in English & Philosophy and a Post Graduate Diploma in Industrial Administration and also in Housing Studies. Gerry is also an EFQM trained assessor.

Gerry has worked both in the private sector and also with the local authority where he worked for over 30 years within housing management. His responsibilities included asset services, community safety, waste management and grounds maintenance. Gerry also held responsibility for street-scene which included community learning and development, active schools, adult literacy, sustainable communities and community asset transfer. He was a member of the Child Protection and Adult Protection Committees, participating in multi-agency significant case reviews. Prior to retirement Gerry held the post of Head of Housing and Communities in East Ayrshire and steered his service through the Council’s transformation strategy whilst leading on new housing developments and implementing a property factoring service.

Since retirement Gerry works with the Scottish Qualifications Authority as a Depute Chief Invigilator and is an Ordinary Member of the First Tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber.

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Margaret Burgess
Margaret Burgess

Margaret was appointed to the Board in August 2016. Margaret is a member of the Scotland Committee of The Riverside Group.

Margaret is the former Scottish Government Minister for Housing and Welfare and was MSP for Cunninghame South 2011-2016. She was also previously a Manager at East Ayrshire Council’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB). Margaret brings a wealth of knowledge of the housing system in Scotland both from setting policy and direction as the Minister responsible, but also from the perspective of tenants from her many years working with the CAB service.

Since retiring, Margaret has focussed on assisting local residents and is a Board Member of North Ayrshire’s Women’s Aid and is a finance volunteer of the co-ordinating committee of the local M.S. Society Group. Margaret also volunteers at the local community mental health hospital.

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Doug Thornton

Doug was appointed to the Board in August 2017. Doug is a member of the Audit and Risk Committee.

Doug has a BSc in Land Economics and is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Chartered Construction Manager.

He started his career with the Scottish New Towns where he worked on valuations, housing developments, and area regeneration. He went on to hold Directorships at major household brands and has more recently worked on major infrastructure projects.

Doug is currently Director of Portmoak Properties Ltd.

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Jane Galbraith

Jane was formally elected to the Board in August 2017. Jane has extensive experience in business development, currently self-employed with Market Route Mapping, specialising in product development. She is involved in high-level strategy development and is responsible for maintaining strong relationships with a diverse range of customers, stakeholders and partners.

Jane has qualifications in Project Management from IBM, Supervisory Management from West College Scotland and Investors in People accreditation.

Jane has a background in retail and has 23 years experience of sales and marketing in the retail sector, working previously as a Retail Design Consultant for the John Lewis Partnership and a Store Manager for Ness Clothing Scotland. Jane also has logistics and distribution experience working with FMCG companies.

Jane is also a Business Mentor with Young Enterprise Scotland, Women’s Enterprise Scotland and the Scottish Chambers of Commerce on a voluntary basis.

Jane has a background in retail and has 23 years experience of sales and marketing in the retail sector, working previously as a Retail Design Consultant for the John Lewis Partnership and a Store Manager for Ness Clothing Scotland.

Jane is also a Business Mentor with Young Enterprise Scotland, Women’s Enterprise Scotland and the Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

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Robin Hill, Board Member
Robin Hill

Robin was appointed to the Board in September 2017 and is the Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee. Robin is a member of the Chartered Banker Institute and has over 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry with Bank of Scotland, HBOS, Lloyds Banking Group, TSB and more recently as an independent adviser.

Robin is a risk management and governance specialist with experience across the retail, commercial and corporate sectors and has held a number of senior Risk and Internal Audit roles. Robin also has significant project management experience including contributing to the build, and divestment, of TSB from Lloyds Banking Group and business integration projects for HBOS and Lloyds Banking Group.

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Cris McGuinness

Cris was appointed to the Board in May 2018. Cris is Chief Financial Officer at Riverside and is Group's nominee on our Board.

Cris started her career with KPMG in Liverpool and brings with her twenty years of experience, over half of which has been in the social housing sector and includes The Guinness Partnership.

In addition Cris brings with her a wealth of experience from other organisations such as Serco and Transport for Greater Manchester.

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Mary Crearie

Mary was appointed to the Board in November 2018 and is a member of the Audit & Risk Committee. She is currently Director of Communities, Housing and Planning with Renfrewshire Council. Her responsibilities include, Community Safety and Public Protection, Housing and Homeless Services, Planning and Development Control, Community Learning and Development and Cultural Regeneration.

Mary has extensive experience in housing, and is a Corporate Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing. She worked in various housing roles in local government in Ayrshire, and in Australia where she was Director of Regional Services for the South Australian Housing Trust, returning to Scotland in 2005 as Director of Housing Services with Glasgow Housing Association.

She joined Renfrewshire Council in August 2008.

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