Kevin O’Brien is a senior finance and business leader with over 20 years’ experience across the private and not for profit sectors. Kevin began his career at Tata Steel, the global metals production and trading business, before moving into property and development with Tesco Property and Grosvenor. After spending five years as a Finance Director at Young Lives vs Cancer and at the RSPCA, Kevin joined Be First in May 2021. He is a non-exec Board member for Charity Finance Group, and an independent member of the audit committee for The Lullaby Trust.
Pat Hayes was appointed Managing Director of Be First in August 2017. Previously he was Executive Director of Regeneration & Housing with Ealing Council during which time the borough became one of the most successful in London at attracting new developments and transforming public housing stock. Pat was responsible for bringing forward the Southall Wayerside development with the Berkeley Group, South Acton Estate with Countryside Properties and the delivery of Ealing Film Works with St George. He oversaw the evolution of the council’s housing company Broadway Living as a major build to rent developer.
Before joining Ealing, Pat worked for Transport for London as Director of Borough Partnerships and prior to that, spent four years at Lewisham Council as Executive Director for Regeneration and Environment. Pat has worked for five other boroughs during a twenty five year career in local government.
While at Grosvenor Group, Edward Skeates focussed on place-making; sourcing and securing projects. He worked on Liverpool One, one of the UK’s largest city centre regeneration projects, value approximately £1bn. Edward also worked on several high-profile projects for Cambridge Horizons, Wilson Bowden and Boots.
Caroline joined Be First from JLL where she worked successfully with both private and public-sector clients, with a strong focus on residential-led development in east and south London. She recently coordinated the submission of the largest full planning application ever – for Metropolitan’s Clapham Park estate regeneration in Lambeth. She also has extensive compulsory purchase, appeal and public inquiry experience.
Caroline manages Be First’s planning and development control teams while providing planning support to our growing development arm.
Jennie Coombs has over 25 years’ experience in the housing and property sector, in a wide variety of roles including sales, housing management, development, and strategy. She joined Be First as Head of Affordable Housing in October 2017, having worked previously as the Major Projects Regeneration Manager for Barking and Dagenham Council and, prior to that, for Higgins Construction. She has a track record in delivering ambitious, borough-wide estate regeneration and award-winning new build housing developments including, most recently, the £00 million redevelopment of the Gascoigne estate in Barking, which will deliver over 1,500 new homes. Jennie is passionate about the need to provide top quality, affordable housing at volume, offering options for people on every level of income, in well-designed, mixed communities.