Chief executive appointed to lead newly merged alcohol charity

25 Jul 2017 News

Richard Piper

Richard Piper has been appointed chief executive of Alcohol Research UK, which has now completed its merger with Alcohol Concern.

The two charities completed the merger in April, with Alcohol Concern’s assets, undertakings and staff to transfer Alcohol Research UK. In the medium-term, Alcohol Concern’s projects such as Dry January, its consultancy and training unit and Alcohol Concern Wales will continue to be delivered under the Alcohol Concern brand.

Currently, both brand names continue to operate. A decision is expected to be made at some point in the future on what the merged organisation will be called.

Work previously undertaken by Alcohol Research UK will all remain under that name, with a strategy for the long-term to be developed over the summer.

A spokeswoman for the merged organisation said that the new chief executive, together with the senior team and board of trustees, will "review the future strategic direction of the organisation, and will announce any changes to its mission and activities once that process is complete".

The spokeswoman said: "As is the case every year, decisions about future research activities and grant programmes will form part of our business planning later in the year."

According to the Charity Commission’s website Alcohol Concern has had an average income of approximately £1m over the last five years, and employs 11 staff. Alcohol Research UK has had a smaller income, averaging around £700,000 over the last five years, and employs five people.

Alcohol Concern had downsized significantly in the year leading up to the merger and any member of the senior management team who left the organisation voluntarily at that time was not replaced. The charities said, however, that together with other members of the team, they were pleased to welcome two trustees and a director from Alcohol Concern’s original senior team to the newly merged organisation.

The two former Alcohol Concern trustees who have joined the Alcohol Research UK board are Dr Emily Finch and Peter Holland.

The merged organisation will be based at its new premises in Kings Cross.

Piper's appointment

Piper has previously held roles as chief executive of Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, at NCVO and most recently as director of impact transformation at Mencap.

On his appointment he said: “I am delighted to be joining this major new force in the charity sector, created by the merger of Alcohol Research UK and Alcohol Concern. The task facing us is huge. Alcohol harm costs the UK around £21bn a year and damages millions of lives, with alcohol a causal factor in over 60 medical conditions.

“I am excited to be joining an amazing team and I look forward to working collaboratively with government and colleagues across the sector to end the harmful effects of alcohol misuse.

Piper starts his role at Alcohol Research UK in September, taking over from previous chief executive Dave Roberts who will be stepping down after eight years as chief executive of Alcohol Research UK and its predecessor body the Alcohol Education & Research Council (AERC).

At the announcement of the merger, the charities said that both organisations share “share virtually identical charitable objects, with a clear mission to reduce the harm caused by alcohol.

"Alcohol Research UK has a long record of research excellence and impact, while Alcohol Concern brings a strong media and campaigning profile. Combined, the two charities aim to be in a much stronger position to use robust evidence to campaign for, and support those working to achieve, a reduction in alcohol harms”.

A spokeswoman said that there have been no redundancies since the merger, with all existing staff from both charities have been retained.  However, current chief executive, Dave Roberts, "decided the time was right for him to move on after the merger to pursue other interests".

Former chief executive of Alcohol Concern, Joanna Simons, was appointed with a specific remit to look at options for the future strategy of the organisation and left the role following the successful completion of the merger. 

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