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Save the Children International chief executive steps down

11 Jan 2019 News

Helle Thorning-Schmidt

Helle Thorning-Schmidt will step down from her role as chief executive of Save the Children International later this year.

Save the Children International is based in the UK and co-ordinates the internatinal aid efforts of the Save the Children network. Thorning-Schmidt was its second chief executive and joined in 2016. Before becoming chief executive of Save the Children, Thorning-Schmidt served as the Prime Minister for Denmark from 2011 to 2015, as well as leading Denmark’s Social Democrat Party for a decade, becoming the first woman to hold either position. 

During her tenure as chief executive, Thorning-Schmidt helped launch Ambition for Children 2030, Save the Children’s 15 year-strategic plan for eliminating childhood deaths from preventable causes, secure a quality basic education for all children, as well as protecting children from violence towards them.

Pernille Lopez, chair of the Save the Children International said: “Helle leaves us having made significant and lasting contributions to Save the Children International. Lending her talent and voice to the millions of vulnerable children we serve, her impact will continue to be felt for years to come. We are grateful for her service and wish her well in the next chapter of her career.”

Referring to Ambition for Children 2030, Lopez stated that: “She united 28 member organisations around these shared goals, and drove meaningful progress in enhancing the quality of our programmes and campaigns that support them. Helle spearheaded a number of organization initiatives, helping our organisation evolve and ensuring we remain a leader in everything we do.”

In 2017, Thorning-Schmidt said that whilst the Ambition for Children 2030 targets were ambitious, those targets were within reach if “governments invest in all children to guarantee they have the full childhood they deserve.”

Thorning-Schmidt said: “I will continue to fight for the rights of children and the empowerment of women, and want to spend more time on my non-executive board roles as well as defending and renewing progress, social justice, and democracy in these turbulent times.”

Thorning-Schmidt said that: “It has been an honour to lead this great organisation and work with colleagues so dedicated to making the world a better place for children.

“I will never forget the children I’ve met and the stories they’ve told me: from the families I met in Yemen, to the Rohingya children who had fled to Bangladesh, and the girls fighting to end child marriage. I am forever inspired by them, and the real difference our work can make.

“I step down from my role with a deep sense of pride in the important work we have done to give children a voice, and become an organisation that is better fir for the future and delivers more impact for children.” 

To staff of Save the Children International, Thorning-Schmidt said: “Save the Children will always have a special place in my heart. In a world that is so difficult for so many children, our work to reach the most deprived children is more important than ever.” 

Thorning-Schmidt will continue in her role over the next few months whilst the trustees search for her successor. 


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