A Derry man has made history by becoming the first public-sector leader to be named Scotland’s ‘Director of the Year’.
Martin Armstrong, from Rosemount, who is Chief Executive of Wheatley – one of the UK’s largest and best performing housing, care and property-management groups – won the accolade at the Institute of Directors (IoD)’s 2018 annual awards dinner in Glasgow.
Wheatley owns and manages over 82,000 homes across Scotland and Martin was named Director of the Year in the large business category. He now goes forward to the UK finals.
The IoD judges concluded: “Martin Armstrong’s long-term leadership of Wheatley has seen a radical transformation in the financial health of the company and the contribution it has made to Scotland.”
Martin, who attended St Joseph’s Boys’ School in Derry from 1977 until 1984 and graduated in 1988 from the University of Ulster with a degree in Housing Management, is also a key advisor to the Northern Ireland Social Housing Reform Programme. His housing career, spanning 25 years and covering the length and breadth of the UK, has been marked by a string of national and international accreditations, including six leadership awards.
He became CEO of Glasgow Housing Association, Scotland’s largest social landlord in 2009, before creating its parent organisation, Wheatley Group, in 2013.
Now comprising six Registered Social Landlords, two care organisations, three commercial subsidiaries and a charitable organisation, Wheatley is also joint owner of City Building Glasgow, a major repairs and maintenance contractor.
Employing in total over 4,500 people, Wheatley is the largest builder of social rented homes in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
It has secured over £800 million of private investment since 2014 to fund a hugely-ambitious building programme featuring thousands of new affordable homes.
Under Martin’s stewardship, GHA was one of just three companies worldwide to receive Global Business Excellence accreditation from the European Foundation for Quality Management at a glittering awards ceremony in Madrid last October.
Wheatley also was named Investors in People’s UK’s Platinum Employer and Apprentice Employer of the Year in 2017.
“This award is fitting recognition of the hard work and dedication of Wheatley employees across Scotland,” said Martin.
“The passion and expertise they bring to their jobs day in day out is improving the homes, communities and lives of people across Scotland.”
Martin (52) lives in Biggar, Lanarkshire, with wife Trudy and children Ruairi, Rosie and Molly.
The Derry man began his career as an Estate Management Officer with Kirklees Metropolitan Council in West Yorkshire in 1989, going on to take up housing positions in Dundee, Kingston-upon-Thames, Moray and West Lothian.
Before joining GHA in 2008 as Director of Housing, he was Director of Housing and Customer Services at West Lothian Council.
In this role he was seen as instrumental in the local authority being named UK Council of the Year in 2006.