Cancer Research UK has announced that its chief executive, Sir Harpal Kumar, is planning to step down from the charity in the spring of 2018, after more than 10 years in the role.
In a statement made yesterday, CRUK confirmed that Kumar has made the decision to step down from the charity after more than a decade in the top role. Kumar, who has worked for the charity for more than 15 years in total, was awarded a knighthood in the 2016 New Year’s Honours for his work with the charity.
Kumar joined CRUK in 2004 as its chief operating officer, and was appointed as chief executive in April 2007. Prior to working at CRUK, Kumar was the chief executive of Cancer Research Technology Limited and also chief executive of disability charity The Papworth Trust.
In his time as chief executive of CRUK, Kumar has seen the organisation's total annual income grow by more than £200m, and helped oversee the charity's major contribution to the Francis Crick Institute. Kumar also led the Independent NHS Cancer Taskforce for England during his tenure at the charity.
According to CRUK, Kumar has agreed to stay on until the spring to help ensure a “smooth transfer” to his successor. Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, chair of CRUK, said the search for Kumar’s replacement has already begun.
“I would like to thank Harpal for his tremendous contribution to the charity over the last 15 years. Cancer Research UK is a truly remarkable organisation and even more so because of Harpal's inspirational leadership," he said.
“I am delighted that Harpal has agreed to stay on until the spring and we have commenced a search for his replacement. We anticipate being able to make an appointment to coincide with Harpal's departure and plan for a smooth transfer.”
Kumar said: “My passion and excitement for Cancer Research UK’s work is as high as it has ever been. But I have always believed that organisations benefit from refreshed leadership every so often and Cancer Research UK is no exception. Our progress is accelerating, and patients and the public are realising the benefit of our work in ever greater numbers.
“I am deeply grateful to every volunteer, scientist, member of staff and supporter for the outstanding contributions they have made since I’ve been chief executive. I look forward to using my remaining time with the organisation to continue to advance our critically important mission.”