Chair and trustee with links to Grenfell Tower refurbishment resign from Shelter board

Sir Derek Myers, the chair, was chief executive of the local council when the decision to refurbish the tower was made; Tony Rice is chair of a major shareholder in a firm involved in the refurbishment

Sir Derek Myers, chair of Shelter and chief executive of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea when the decision to refurbish Grenfell Tower was taken, has resigned from the charity’s board.

Myers resigned last week with another trustee, Tony Rice, who is chair of an investment firm that is the major shareholder in a company involved in the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower.

Shelter has not confirmed the reason for the pair’s departure.

The fire at Grenfell Tower earlier this month led to the deaths of an estimated 79 people and prompted claims that the cladding used on the building acted as an accelerant.

Myers was chief executive of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – the London borough in which Grenfell Tower is situated – until the end of 2013.

The borough council began planning the renovation of Grenfell Tower when Myers was chief executive. The refurbishment was completed in 2016.

Rice is chairman of Xerxes Equity, which owns the building exteriors firm Omnis. Omnis was formed in 2013 by the amalgamation of six companies, including CEP Architectural Facades, the company that made the panels and windows for Grenfell Tower.

A statement from CEP Architectural Facades said it was not the manufacturer of Reynobond PE, the material specified by Harley Facades, the cladding subcontractor for Grenfell Tower. It is made in France by Arconic Architectural Products Europe.

The statement said: "CEP’s role was limited to fulfilling the order for components to the specification, design and choice of material determined by the design and build contracting team."

Graeme Brown, interim chief executive of Shelter, said: "Tony Rice has resigned as a trustee of Shelter and the chair of the board of trustees, Sir Derek Myers, has also resigned. The role of trustee is entirely voluntary and unpaid, and we wish them the best for the future."

Brown also set out how the charity had responded to the Grenfell fire.

"Shelter continues to provide free expert advice to anyone in the country who needs help with bad housing or homelessness," he said. "This includes our work with Grenfell Tower residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the fire.

"We are working with partners to provide free advice clinics to those affected and our London Advice Line has been extended to seven days a week. We are also speaking to the relevant authorities to offer any other support that might be needed."

Both Myers and Rice have been removed from the trustee section of Shelter’s website since Friday morning.

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