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ActionAid UK appoints new chief executive 

27 Apr 2021 News

Frances Longley has been appointed as the new chief executive of ActionAid UK and will join the charity next month. 

Longley has more than 25 years of experience in the charity sector and most recently was executive director for programmes and policy at CARE International UK.

In her role at CARE, her department portfolio included global leadership on women’s economic justice and inclusive governance. 

ActionAid is an international charity that works with women and girls living in poverty.

Between 2015 and 2019 Longley was chief executive of Amref Health Africa UK and before that director of communications and brand at Unicef UK. 

Longley said she has “admired ActionAid’s expert and passionate leadership on the rights of women and girls for years” and her work is driven “by a commitment to championing gender equality and building a fairer world,”.

She added: “So I am excited and proud to have been given the chance to lead such an exceptional and inspirational organisation. I cannot wait to get started alongside ActionAid’s brilliant team.”

Longley spent three years living and working in Eswatini from 2009, leading the evaluation of an experimental USAID-funded national HIV prevention programme. She also worked in Afghanistan, supporting strategy development for the ministry of public health.  

Longley replaces former ActionAid UK chief executive, Girish Menon, who left to join STiR Education.

Srabani Sen, ActionAid UK’s chair, said: “Frances brings such a breadth of experience in the international sector, along with enormous passion for the work we do with women and girls in the global south and a strong commitment to our feminist principles. Her leadership will be pivotal for ActionAid UK as we take our next steps forward as an organisation.”  

Longley has co-chaired the UK NGO sector’s work on leadership and culture for safeguarding since March 2018, and co-authored BOND’s new culture tool for leaders. 

She is a trustee of the Joffe Charitable Trust and a member of the BBC’s Appeals Advisory Committee. She has an MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. 

John Good, chief operating officer at ActionAid UK, has been the interim chief executive since Menon left and will return to that role when Longley joins in mid-May. 

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