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CAF appoints Leonard Cheshire boss as new chief executive

16 Jun 2020 News

Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has appointed Neil Heslop as its new chief executive.

He will join in November from disability charity Leonard Cheshire, which he has led since 2016.

He takes over from Sir John Low, who announced his retirement at the end of last year after 13 years in the role.

Before Leonard Cheshire, Heslop was managing director of RNIB for three years. He previously had a career in the telecommunications industry, including as head of strategy at O2.

Heslop, who lost his sight at the age of 21, is also co-chair of the Disability Charities Consortium, a coalition of the eight biggest UK disability charities that campaigns for disabled people’s rights.

He co-founded the charity Blind In Business, of which he has been a trustee since 1992.

CAF is one of the biggest UK charities, with an income of £614m in 2018-19. It provides banking services for other charities, and helps individuals and companies to make donations.

Leonard Cheshire said that Heslop will continue to be involved in the charity's work in the future, and that "the Leonard Cheshire international board will agree on an appropriate non-executive role".

'Proud to be joining at such a crucial time'

Heslop said: “CAF is a civil society leader, both in the UK and internationally. Its purpose to grow giving in all forms brings together businesses and donors with charities and social enterprises with the shared determination to make the world a better place.

“Now more than ever charities are vital in our lives as we grapple with an unparalleled global health crisis. Supporting charities in all that they do is at the very heart of CAF and I am proud to be joining at such a crucial time.” 

Sir James Leigh-Pemberton, chair of trustees at CAF, said: “The trustees of CAF and I are delighted that Neil Heslop will be joining us to lead the organisation into a future which is full of opportunity despite the challenges which we all face at present.

“We welcome his global experience, knowledge of the charity sector, business skills, creativity and energy as we continue our work to motivate society to give ever more effectively in order to transform lives and communities around the world."

Sally Davis, chair of Leonard Cheshire, said: “Neil has made a huge difference at the charity, leading considerable transformation.

“His blend of business background, charity experience and disability insight provided strong leadership across the sector strengthened the foundations of Leonard Cheshire. He leaves the charity in an immensely more robust and better place."

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