AllBRE Group Board DirectorsBRE Group Senior LeadersChief Scientist

Gillian Charlesworth

Chief Executive Officer, BRE Group

As BRE Group’s Chief Executive, Gillian is responsible for the organisation’s strategy and performance. She works closely with BRE Trustees and the Group Board to define our purpose, vision and long-term goals.

Gillian Charlesworth

Chief Executive Officer, BRE Group

As BRE Group’s Chief Executive, Gillian is responsible for the organisation’s strategy and performance. She works closely with BRE Trustees and the Group Board to define our purpose, vision and long-term goals.

Before joining BRE Group, Gillian was an Executive Director at RICS, where she held a number of roles covering assurance and enforcement of standards, global brand growth and thought leadership. She is passionate about the importance and potential of the built environment in creating sustainable, vibrant and productive life on the planet.

In her earlier career Gillian worked in the UK Civil service and with several professions and industries as a regulator and advocate. She promotes responsible leadership and one of her career highlights was being included in Women of the Future’s inaugural top 50 list of Kind Leaders in 2018.

Andrew Herbert

Interim Chief Financial Officer

Andrew has worked as a professional interim manager for over 25 years. He qualified as a chartered accountant with Ernst & Young and has since held senior management positions in a wide range of organisations in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.

Andrew Herbert

Interim Chief Financial Officer

Andrew has worked as a professional interim manager for over 25 years with experience in change programmes and turnaround work. He qualified as a chartered accountant with Ernst & Young and has since held senior management positions in a wide range of organisations in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors including NatWest Group, Guide Dogs for the Blind and more recently the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

He also works as a non-executive director having held a range of positions including chairman of Octavia Housing a registered housing association based in West London and past chair of the London Society of Chartered Accountants.

In one of his previous roles Andrew was managing director of Radio Taxis Group where he championed the move to becoming the first carbon neutral transport business as part of the company’s overall CSR plan. Andrew has spoken at numerous conferences on the business benefits of going carbon neutral and practises what he preaches having embarked on a personal project to restore a late Victorian town house, in a conservation area, whilst trying to achieve as low a carbon footprint as possible.

Jane Goddard

Commercial Director

Jane works across the BRE Group and is responsible for our commercial strategy bringing together marketing, communications and increasing our business development activity and reach.

Jane Goddard

Commercial Director

Jane will be working across BRE to bring together our commercial, marketing, lead generation and business development activities into a cohesive strategy and plan. As a senior commercial leader, Jane has a range of skills and expertise in business development and marketing gained in the UK and internationally.

Her previous role as Director of Marketing and Business Development at the Energy Saving Trust, working with government, businesses and consumers has provided a wealth of knowledge of both the housing, energy and sustainability sectors.

Ashley Wheaton

Non-Executive Director, BRE Group

CEO of the University College of Estate Management, Ashley Wheaton, was appointed to the BRE Group Board as a Non-Executive Director in July 2016. Ashley, who has been a BRE Trustee since 2015, brings with him considerable experience of online and digital training and education services. In his earlier career he was Director of Global Learning Services for Microsoft Corp based in the USA and Chief Executive Officer of InfoBasis Ltd, a global Talent Management software company. He holds a BA (Hons) in Economics from University of London.

Ashley Wheaton

Non-Executive Director, BRE Group

CEO of the University College of Estate Management, Ashley Wheaton, was appointed to the BRE Group Board as a Non-Executive Director in July 2016.

Ashley, who has been a BRE Trustee since 2015, brings with him considerable experience of online and digital training and education services. In his earlier career he was Director of Global Learning Services for Microsoft Corp based in the USA and Chief Executive Officer of InfoBasis Ltd, a global Talent Management software company. He holds a BA (Hons) in Economics from University of London.

Dr Martin Ganley

Construction Innovation Hub Director | Director of Electronics, Security & Inspection Services

Martin leads the testing and certification of products and services, including fire detection, fire system installers, security, microgeneration, BIM and ISO auditing.

Dr Martin Ganley

Construction Innovation Hub Director | Director of Electronics, Security & Inspection Services

Martin joined BRE in 2011 and is responsible for business areas covering the testing and certification of products and services. This includes fire detection, fire system installers, security, microgeneration, BIM (Building Information Modelling) and ISO auditing. He is also the lead for BRE’s Smart Homes and Buildings activities which covers research, smart demonstrators, the development of training, standards and guidance across the areas of connectivity, cyber security, energy, health and wellbeing, safety and security, construction and installation.

Prior to BRE, Martin worked in engineering consultancy, concentrating mainly on radiocommunications and working across construction, rail, defence and aerospace sectors.

Dr Deborah Pullen MBE CEng FCIOB FIMMM

Executive Director of the BRE Trust

Deborah leads the strategy to maximise the positive societal impact and success of the BRE Trust, one of the UK’s largest charities focused on supporting transformational change in the built environment. 

Dr Deborah Pullen MBE CEng FCIOB FIMMM

Executive Director of the BRE Trust

Deborah is a core member of the BRE Trust Board, providing leadership of the Trustees in setting the vision and strategy to maximise its positive societal impact and success of the BRE Trust, one of the UK’s largest charities focused on supporting transformational change in the built environment.  She also works closely with BRE Group executive colleagues to ensure ongoing synergies and collaboration in achieving complementing strategic objectives. She is responsible for the BRE Trust research and education programmes, which use the gift aid received from BRE Group and other external sources to commission research, provide scholarships and disseminate outputs widely through a range of physical and digital formats. Prior to formal appointment to this role Deborah was the BRE Group Research Director and as a member of the BRE executive team still maintains a strategic role in ensuring that BRE has an integrated research strategy to ensure the success of the BRE Trust and its subsidiaries. 

Deborah has a BSc(Hons) in Materials Science, a PhD in polymer chemistry, is a Chartered Engineer, and a Fellow of the Chartered Institutes of Building and of Materials, Minerals and Mining. In 2012 Deborah successfully completed a Post-Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Business and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Hertfordshire in 2014 for her leadership of the BRE Trust Future Cities Programme. She has spent the last 20 years leading research teams and business units focused on the manufacture and use of high performance polymer materials in government and private sector organisations across a range of industries including defence, aerospace, oil & gas, transport, and medical. Deborah has also set up and led a number of knowledge transfer networks and was awarded an MBE in the 2014 Queen’s New Year Honours in recognition of her work in innovation and knowledge transfer in the Built Environment. Deborah’s current affiliations include: Scholarships Committee and also a Court member of the Worshipful Company of Constructors Livery Company, a Board member of the European Network for Building Research Institutes (ENBRI). Previous affiliations include: Fellow at the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge, UKTI Construction Industry Steering Group and Smart Cities Task Group, IOM3 Construction Materials Group, CIOB Research & Innovation Group, CIOB Professional Membership Advisory Panel, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Engineering Strategic Advisory team, UK National Platform for the Built Environment, Green Construction Board ‘Greening’ task Group, Chair of the AIRTO Task Group for the Built Environment.

Dr Debbie Smith, OBE

Managing Director, BRE Global

Debbie joined the organisation in 1984 and is now MD of our independent certification arm which incorporates international brands such as BREEAM and LPCB.

Dr Debbie Smith, OBE

Managing Director, BRE Global

Debbie first joined the Fire Research Station (FRS) at BRE in 1984, straight after completing her PhD at the University of Birmingham in Metallurgy and Materials Science. During her career at BRE, she has been involved in a broad range of fire related work in research, testing, certification and consultancy which has included material fire behaviour, turbulent diffusion flame dynamics and development and validation of mathematical modelling approaches.  She has also been heavily involved in the developments of new European fire test methods and the classification schemes for construction products, in addition to the development of Fire Safety Engineering standards and guidance both within the National and International Standards arena. In recent times, Debbie has become involved in the area of sustainability, in particular its impact and influence on fire protection and construction methods.

Debbie is Chair of the European Committee CEN TC127 on Fire Safety which is responsible for the development of all of the fire test methods for construction products in Europe.  In June 2010, she was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list for services to fire safety.

Debbie is currently Managing Director of BRE Global Ltd, the certification arm of BRE which incorporates international brands such as BREEAM and LPCB.

Debbie also leads our collaboration with the BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering at the University of Edinburgh  where we are working together to deliver future generations of fire experts.

Brigid Sutcliffe

Non-Executive Director, BRE Group

Brigid is an experienced Non-Executive director and chartered accountant with a background in management consulting, professional services and business transformation.

Brigid Sutcliffe

Non-Executive Director, BRE Group

Chartered Accountant Brigid Sutcliffe was appointed to the BRE Group board as Non Executive Director in July 2016

Brigid is an experienced Non Executive director and chartered accountant with a background in management consulting, professional services and business transformation. She has held senior positions at Arthur Andersen and Telos Partners. Brigid will also take on the role of Chair of the Audit Committee which supports both the BRE Group Board and BRE Trust Council on finance and risk management issues.

Brigid is currently Non-executive Director of the National Physical Laboratory.

Darran Messem

Non-Executive Director, BRE Group

Darran is an independent Non-Executive Director and consultant with over 30 years experience leading business development in energy, transport and the environment.

Darran Messem

Non-Executive Director, BRE Group

Darran is an experienced executive with over 30 years experience with companies including Shell, British Airways and the Carbon Trust, and over 10 years’ experience as a company director. He is currently Chair of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (‘LowCVP’, a membership organisation sponsored by the UK Department for Transport), and Director of Velocys (a listed sustainable fuel company). Darran’s Board roles have included Audit Committee (Chair), Remuneration Committee (Chair), Appointments Committee, Strategy Committee and Refinancing team. Darran’s achievements include Chairing Iogen Energy and developing production of cellulose ethanol; Chairing the LowCVP and expanding its role despite pressures on public spending; and playing a lead role in the commercialisation and internationalisation of the Carbon Trust.

Prof. Jeremy Watson CBE

Chief Scientist and Engineer

Jeremy’s specialities include research strategy, innovation processes, emerging technology identification, R&D and technology deployment.

Prof. Jeremy Watson CBE

Chief Scientist and Engineer

Jeremy Watson CBE FREng FIET FICE is BRE’s Chief Scientist and Engineer, and Chair of the UK Chapter of buildingSMART.

Concurrently, he is Vice-Dean, with responsibility for engineering mission at UCL and Professor of Engineering Systems in the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy. Jeremy was previously Arup’s Global Research Director, and until November 2012, Chief Scientific Advisor for the Department of Communities & Local Government (DCLG).

An electronics and control engineer by training and practice, he has experience of research and technical direction in industry and universities, also governing board membership at TSB (InnovateUK) and EPSRC, plus service with NERC and HEFCE. He recently served on two government SAGE panels (Flooding and Pandemics) and a Blackett Review. His specialities include research strategy, innovation processes, emerging technology identification, R&D and technology deployment. Jeremy is Deputy President of the IET.

Piers White MBE

BRE Group Chair

Piers has extensive board and business experience and now dedicates his time to organisations with a wider public purpose. His expertise includes board leadership, audit, risk and governance, business strategy, service improvement and IT-enabled change management.

Piers White MBE

BRE Group Chair

Piers is a banker by profession. He was formerly UK Chief Executive and a member of the Group Management Board of Bank Insinger de Beaufort NV until their sale to BNP Paribas in 2008. For 10 years he ran, grew and then sold a variety of complex financial services businesses, in the UK and overseas. Prior to that he spent 15 years in retail banking at Barclays where his last role was Service Director running the UK branches with 20,000 staff.

Piers was appointed BRE Group Chair in November 2019. He is also Chair of Courier Facilities Ltd and a Non-Executive at both Hyde Housing Association and NHS Blood and Transplant. His past Chair/Non-Executive roles have spanned the Public, Private and Third Sectors and have involved working on strategy, customer service & operational transformation in order to support the continued success of organisations. Previous related roles include Ploughshare Innovations, Nominet, Ordnance Survey and CIPFA Business.