Samaritans, a suicide prevention charity, has appointed Jeremy Hughes as its new chief executive to lead an ambitious new strategy.
Hughes has held the top job at the Alzheimer’s Society for a decade and will join Samaritans in May.
Ruth Sutherland, who has been chief executive at Samaritans since 2015 has decided to pursue a portfolio career and was recently awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours.
Alzheimer's Society has an income of £111.7m, while Samaritans has an income of £20m.
Last year the chief executive of Samaritans earned a total of £137,000, according to its 2019 accounts, while at the Alzheimer's Society the highest paid individual earned between £150,001 and £160,000, although its accounts do not state whether this was the chief executive.
Samaritans advertised the chief executive post in October, with the salary listed as negotiable depending on experience.
Hughes was previously chief executive of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, and head of external affairs at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
He said: “I feel enormously privileged to be appointed the new CEO of Samaritans, and I am committed to build on all the work of recent years. Never has the need for Samaritans been greater. The dedication and expertise of volunteers and staff are a model many other charities aspire to.”
He is joining as Samaritans begins the next strategic planning cycle and the charity said it is planning an ambitious new strategy.
Jenni McCartney, chair of Samaritans, said: “I am delighted to welcome Jeremy to Samaritans. He brings with him a wealth of experience from the voluntary sector, and a passion for what we do. Over the last five years, Samaritans has achieved some significant positive changes under Ruth’s leadership, including improvements in our infrastructure, service offering, visibility and influence. Jeremy joins at an exciting time for us and I look forward to working with him to build on our recent successes to ensure that we achieve our mission that fewer people die by suicide.”
Last year the Alzheimer’s Society put in place an action plan to deal with poor staff survey results and the charity’s leadership team faced online criticism.
Hughes announced his departure from the Alzheimer's Society in September and in December the charity announced that Kate Lee from CLIC Sargent would become its next chief executive from April.