Regulator's policy director to leave for CEO role at the Social Mobility Foundation 

01 Nov 2019 News

Sarah Atkinson, director of policy and communications, Charity Commission

Sarah Atkinson will leave the Charity Commission to join the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) as chief executive. 

She has been at the regulator since 2014 and is executive director for strategy, policy and communications. She was recently involved with the Charity Tax Commission and has held board roles at Endometriosis UK, the Professional Association of Childcare and Early Years, and Womankind Worldwide. 

Atkinson will succeed David Johnston, who announced his plans to stand down after ten years at the helm of SMF, which aims to make a practical improvement in social mobility for young people from low-income backgrounds.

‘Personal commitment’ 

Atkinson said she was delighted to be joining the charity on 2 January 2020 and that she has a personal commitment to the cause. 

She said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have been chosen as the next chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation. I firmly believe that now, more than ever, working to support young people to realise their potential is critical to build the economy and society the UK needs to be.

“I am personally deeply committed to the SMF’s mission and I have been so excited and inspired by what David and the team have achieved.”

Alan Milburn, chair of SMF, added: “Like her predecessor David Johnston, I am sure she will be an outstanding leader of the organisation. Sarah brings with her a wealth of experience in the charity world and a deep passion for social mobility.  

“Her skills will be essential in helping SMF grow and develop as we seek to break down the barriers that stand in the way of so many young people in our country realising their aspirations.”

‘Welcome to the other side’ 

Atkinson announced the news on Twitter yesterday afternoon, prompting many charity leaders to congratulate her on the appointment. 




For more news, interviews, opinion and analysis about charities and the voluntary sector sign up to receive the Civil Society News daily bulletin here


More on