RSPB announces Woodland Trust boss as new chief executive

16 May 2019 News

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has announced that Beccy Speight from the Woodland Trust will take over as chief executive.

She will take over from Mike Clarke, who announced he was stepping down in September last year after 30 years at charity, by the end of the summer.

Speight was chief executive at the Woodland Trust from 2014, where she increased income by over 35 per cent and led a period of re-focus and expansion.

She oversaw a ten-year strategy which raised the trust’s profile, built new partnerships, a leadership team and supported more effective structures and a new culture.

'Period of significant change'

Kevin Cox, the charity's chair, said: “We are delighted to welcome someone of Beccy’s calibre to the RSPB.

“We’re at a key point in history for nature conservation in the UK when the natural world is coming under increasing threat.

“At this crucial time of change, the RSPB must evolve to respond to these threats, ensuring that we’re in the best possible shape to make a difference for nature.

“The organisation has undergone a period of significant change over the past year and Beccy’s outstanding track record, personal qualities and commitment to the cause of nature conservation will ensure the charity continues to move forward with confidence.
“I’d like to thank our outgoing CEO Mike Clarke who has been instrumental in driving significant growth in membership, while modernising our mission to ensure we remain relevant in a changing world and fostering a new era of collaboration on behalf of nature conservation.”

Clarke said in September that he would be "returning to his roots, supporting the charity in other ways as both a member and volunteer once more".

'Challenging time to join'

Speight will be responsible for operations and management at more than 200 RSPB nature reserves across the UK, visited by around 2.5 million people every year.

She said: “I am really excited about joining the RSPB. The fight to save nature has never been more important and the RSPB is uniquely positioned to make a difference.

“This is an interesting and challenging time for the charity and I'm looking forward to getting started in my role and helping to lead our great contribution."

Baroness Barbara Young, chairman of the Woodland Trust said: “Over the last five years under her leadership, the organisation has seen many positive changes, the Woodland Trust has grown in focus, profile and influence, in helping to create a better wooded environment for the UK. 

"We are sorry to be losing Beccy, but are reassured that she is staying in the conservation sector and we have no doubt that she will remain an advocate and voice for woods and trees."

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