Public Statement

Public Practice appoints co-founder Pooja Agrawal as new CEO and will take over from Finn Williams at the end of June.

Friday, 26 March 2021

Architect and planner Pooja Agrawal is to take over as CEO of Public Practice, the ground-breaking social enterprise that places outstanding built environment experts within forward-thinking public authorities. She was selected for the role after a recruitment process by the Board and will commence work from the 21st of June.

Pooja co-founded Public Practice in 2017 and was instrumental in establishing the organisation’s vision and mission. She has remained an active participant in the operations of Public Practice while holding other roles, joining the Board as an Observer in 2017 and as a Director in 2020. She will be stepping down from her role on the Board of Directors to take up the post of Chief Executive.

Jules Pipe CBE, Chair of Public Practice, said:

“As one half of the team who founded Public Practice, Pooja is the ideal appointment to take the organisation forward with its ambitious plans for expansion. The Board were greatly impressed with her ideas for leading the team, her commitment to greater equality and diversity, and her passion for creating better places through strengthened public planning. We look forward to working more closely with Pooja as she takes up her new role.”

Tara Gbolade, Alumni representative on Public Practice’s Board, said:

“This is an exciting new phase for Public Practice and its mission and vision for capacity building in the public sector. I was in the audience when Pooja and Finn hosted the RIBA Guerrilla Tactics conference in 2018 and spoke passionately about the enterprise. This was the springboard for my own journey with Public Practice which has played an instrumental part in the careers of all PP Alumni, including mine. I look forward to working closely with her in the years to come.”

Pooja brings with her experience from her current role at Homes England, as Assistant Director of Service Strategy, and from the Greater London Authority, where she served as a Programme Manager in the Regeneration Team for over four years.

She is a keen advocate for spatial equality and co-hosts diversity platform Sound Advice. She is a Fellow at the Institute of Innovation and Public Purpose and an Associate at the Quality of Life Foundation. She has previously mentored at Stephen Lawrence Trust, taught at Central Saint Martins and was a trustee for Museum of Architecture. She was nominated for the Planner’s Woman of Influence in 2018 and 2019.

Founded to promote the quality and equality of the built environment, Public Practice is a not-for-profit social enterprise that has so far placed 149 Associates within 44 local authorities across London and the South East.

Pooja Agrawal said:

“I am very excited to be taking on the role of CEO of Public Practice. Having co-founded Public Practice in 2017, its mission and values are close to my heart. Throughout my career I have advocated for high-quality design and social equality. As an experienced public servant at both national and local level, I know that the public sector is best placed to deliver these ambitions.

“The built environment is integral to addressing fundamental societal issues. Covid-19 has shown the disproportionate impact on ethnic communities due to life circumstances, climate change is changing our landscape, and public space continues to be unsafe for women. We need a public sector well equipped with multi-disciplinary and creative skills to redefine the future of work, adapt our local high streets and reach carbon-zero targets. Public Practice has already achieved great things. I look forward to working with the team to build on their successes and work collaboratively with local authorities across the country to rise to the challenges we face.”

Pooja takes up her position as Public Practice welcomes its sixth cohort of Associates starting placements this Spring. Applications for this year’s Autumn cohort will open in mid-April.