£240m disability support charity appoints first disabled CEO in 47-year history

26 Feb 2024 News

Nigel Fletcher, incoming CEO of the Motability Foundation

The Motability Foundation

Nigel Fletcher has become the first disabled person to lead the Motability Foundation, the 47-year-old charity has announced.

Fletcher will take over from Barry Le Grys, who joined the charity as chief executive in 2019, at the end of March. 

Motability Foundation, which rebranded last year, was set up in 1977 to support disabled people with their personal mobility.

Fletcher, who has a visual impairment, has 25 years of experience in the private sector and previously held senior roles at Pets at Home and Tesco.

He also spent eight years as a trustee for two charities, including Ambient Support which provides care and support for people with learning disabilities and complex mental health needs.

‘My disability is my greatest asset’

Fletcher has lived with “a serious impairment since birth” which restricts his ability to travel, he said.  

“My visual impairment impacts me in many ways but most notable is the impact on my mobility.

“However, I would also say that my disability is also my greatest asset as it’s helped me become a better person and a better leader.” 

He added: “It’s vital for disabled people to be able to access transport so they can make the journeys they choose, and I’m looking forward to using the full range of my experience to help the Motability Foundation deliver an even greater impact.”

Charles Manby, chair of the board of governors of the Motability Foundation, said: “We’re delighted to appoint Nigel Fletcher as our new CEO. 

“The governors were very impressed with Nigel’s extensive experience from a number of senior roles, as well as his personal values and commitment to improving the lives of disabled people.

“I would also like to thank Le Grys for his leadership and determination over the past four and a half years. Barry has been a tremendous leader of the Motability Foundation, showing empathy at all levels, developing people and creating a mutually supportive team spirit. He had led a number of new initiatives which are helping us to support more disabled people than ever.”

Reserves rose to £1.78bn last year

Last year, the Motability Foundation reported that its total reserves had increased by 5% to £1.78bn while its charitable expenditure rose by 43% to “its highest ever level” of £113m.

Its total income increased by £56.7m to £240m, thanks to a donation of £200m from Motability Operations, a commercial company contracted by the charity to run the Motability scheme. 

Motability Operations donates any profits to Motability Foundation that are not required for reinvestment or retained as reserves.

MPs previously criticised the former chief executive of Motability Operations for holding some £2.4bn in reserve as a “financial shock absorber” and not donating more of its cash surplus to the charity. 

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