A new executive with experience at the highest levels of the technology and software industry has been appointed to lead the customer services directorate at newly formed Karbon Homes in Newcastle.
Jo Ray, 53, joins Karbon at an exciting time, with the organisation putting a new structure in place to manage its 24,000 homes and provide services to its residents.
Karbon Homes was formed just last month through a merger of Isos Housing, Cestria Community Housing and Derwentside Homes.
The enlarged business extends right across the region, from Berwick in the north, down to Stockton and the Tees Valley and across to the Northumberland border with Cumbria in the west.
The customer services directorate employs 600 staff and includes Karbon’s housing management team, its supported housing function, resident involvement, community engagement, and Karbon’s extensive repairs and maintenance team.
Jo, originally from Hampshire, joins Karbon Homes after a 20 year career with Newcastle-based Sage Group plc.
She said: “I wanted something new and different – a change from technology and software.
“For me, it’s important to be part of an organisation that looks to make people’s lives better, and with a culture of loyalty and respect.
“It was also attractive to be joining Karbon as a ‘new’ organisation, so there is the opportunity to build something on the fantastic foundations already laid down. I like the opportunity to build, shape and construct the future.”
She said Sage and Karbon Homes have more in common than might first be assumed – as both need to build strong, long term relationships with their customers, so both need to respond to what those customers want or need.
Jo came to the North East in 1996 as Director of Marketing at Sage, then became Managing Director of the company’s Small Business Division in the UK, followed by a period as Managing Director for the Small Business Division in France, based in Paris, before being appointed as Group Director of Customer Experience.
She has extensive experience of business transformation and cultural change across a number of business areas and international businesses, improving customer and staff engagement, and developing communications too.
Jo has a strong regional profile, and has sat on a number of Boards as a non-executive including Gateshead College and Business Link North East. She is currently a Board Member of the Trading Board at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.
Outside work, Jo enjoys spending time with family, growing fruit and vegetables in her garden in Whitley Bay, and watching Sunderland AFC.