Meet the Executive Team

Matt Sugden

Matt Sugden (Chief Executive Officer)

Matt is our Chief Executive Officer. He joined Railway Housing Association in April 2023 from Accent Housing, where he previously worked in a national role as executive director of governance and strategy, holding responsibility for a range of corporate services including strategy, organisational culture, communications, customer insight, governance, procurement, legal and regulatory services. Originally from Yorkshire, the former solicitor has held several executive and non-executive roles within the social housing sector. Matt is passionate about improving the services that Railway Housing Association delivers to our residents, a key commitment of our new On the Right Track delivery plan. Matt has overall responsibility for ensuring Railway Housing Association is legal, safe and compliant.

Joanne Watson

Joanne Watson (Chief Finance Officer)

Jo is our Chief Finance Officer, with responsibility for financial operations and strategic planning, as well as overseeing ICT, treasury management, risk management, value for money and procurement. Jo joined Railway Housing Association in February 2009 from Teesdale District Council, where she was Chief Finance Officer, having worked in a range of finance and accountancy roles there for 20 years. A member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), Jo is deeply committed making the best use of our resources to improve performance and provide excellent services for residents, while ensuring the association’s continued viability. Jo is also a board member for a small local housing association.

Chris Marshall

Chris Marshall (Chief Operating Officer)

Chris is our Chief Operating Officer. He joined Railway Housing Association in February 2024 from Thirteen Housing Group, where Chris had responsibility for the delivery and development of the housing management, income, anti-social behaviour, neighbourhood management, leasehold, student and market rented accommodation. Chris has held several positions in housing associations across the North East, with his career originally starting 22 years ago as an apprentice within a resident involvement setting. Chris also holds a non-executive position as Chair of Governance and Remuneration for a North East based charitable organisation. He has a particular passion around diversity and inclusion and ensuring that residents’ voices are heard across the organisation. Chris leads the team managing our asset portfolio, repairs and maintenance, planned maintenance, housing management and customer services.