Government names preferred candidate for Charity Commission chair

02 Dec 2021 News

Martin Thomas, the next chair of the Charity Commission

The government has announced that Martin Thomas is its preferred candidate for chair of the Charity Commission.

Thomas is currently chair of trustees at two charities, Downside Up and the Forward Arts Foundation, although he will step aside from all charity roles if his appointment goes ahead.

He will appear before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in parliament for pre-appointment scrutiny next Thursday, 9 December.

Last month Labour called on the government to restart the process and The Good Law Project is bringing legal proceedings against the government over its concerns about a op-ed written by the former culture minister Oliver Dowden


Thomas has previously worked at the Bank of England, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, and is the chair of NHS Resolution. 

He has also chaired the trustee board at the charity Women for Women International UK. 

The government said in a statement that Thomas will take up the post at the end of December, when the term of the current interim chair, Ian Karet, finishes. Karet has filled the post since February.

In 2017 he wrote an article for Civil Society Media's Governance & Leadership magazine about his involvement with Women for Women International

He wrote: "For any charity, the board has a crucial role and duty to fulfil – encompassing strategy, oversight, and accountability. Above all, it is our responsibility to ensure that all decisions are taken with the charity’s interests as paramount. We are bound to act collectively to ensure proper management and administration of the charity, to best advance our vision and mission." 

No political activity declared

The Charity Commission chair is appointed for a term of up to three years. The salary is £62,500, for two and a half working days per week.

Thomas has not declared any political activity.

He will replace Baroness Stowell as permanent chair of the Commission. When Stowell left the role she said that her greatest regret was that she had not been more vocal on behalf of people who felt ignored by charities. 

Editor's note  - 12.46pm 

This article has been updated to include quote from an article Martin Thomas wrote 

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