Simon Lee, Chief Executive, retires

The Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators announced in December the decision of Simon Lee, Chief Executive, to retire at the end of 2020 and that Stephen Bound will stand in as Acting Chief Executive.

Simon has provided outstanding leadership for the Commons since his arrival in March 2014 and the announcement of his retirement was made with great regret. Simon was instrumental in developing an ambitious long-term vision for the Commons that recognised the critical role of the Commons in meeting not only the physical needs of the community but the social and mental requirements, as has become so clearly apparent during the pandemic. Simon also identified the need to develop a masterplan for the estate and successfully secured external funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support this major initiative. The masterplan will identify opportunities for limited and targeted investment across the Commons that will ultimately improve the resilience of these 1140 acres of magnificent open space.

Over the course of his six-year tenure, Simon also put in place procedures to ensure the efficient day-to-day management of this vast resource, ensuring that regulatory and health and safety obligations were fulfilled. The inspiration and sense of purpose that he has brought to the organisation has been critical in allowing the organisation to move forward despite the challenges inherent in working in an environment of limited resources, heightened regulatory scrutiny and most recently, a life-threatening pathogen. 

The Chairman of the Conservators, Diane Neil Mills, commented "The culture and ethos that continues to characterise this unique organisation owes much to Simon’s willingness to lead from the front and discharge his duties with integrity, strength and quiet determination.  Simon’s natural communication skills allowed him to engage easily with members of the local and wider communities. There is no question that under Simon’s leadership, the realm of influence enjoyed by Wimbledon and Putney Commons has expanded well beyond its traditional boundaries and Simon’s absence will be keenly felt by all those who had the privilege to work with him in some capacity."

In the alien environment in which we have all been living, the Commons have come to represent one of the few remaining vestiges of a normal world. Throughout this critical time, we have been extremely fortunate to have had an inspirational and visionary Chief Executive at the helm who has been whole heartedly dedicated to the organisation. His decision to retire is a huge loss for the Commons. He will be deeply missed and we wish him well in the future. 

Stephen Bound - Acting Chief Executive

The Conservators were pleased to announce that Stephen Bound, Chief Operations Manager, was appointed as Acting Chief Executive, with effect from 1 January 2021. Since joining WPCC in January 2016, Stephen has had responsibility for the day to day operations of the Commons, a role that has been particularly critical over the past nine months. He will continue this work whilst also holding the post of Acting Chief Executive until such time as a permanent appointment is made, the process for which will be overseen by the new Board of Conservators following the triennial elections in March 2021.