St John Ambulance appoints senior civil servant as next CEO

16 May 2024 News

Shona Dunn, incoming CEO of St John Ambulance

St John Ambulance

St John Ambulance (SJA) has appointed a senior civil servant as its next chief executive. 

Shona Dunn became second permanent secretary at the Department of Health and Social Care in April 2021 and will join SJA in September. 

She will succeed Martin Houghton-Brown, who has led SJA since 2018 and announced his decision to step down last year, and become its second female CEO. 

Dunn joined the civil service in 1995 in the Department for the Environment and then held positions at the Department for Education, Cabinet Office and Home Office.

SJA said Dunn’s understanding of healthcare systems and her commitment to improving health outcomes will be “invaluable” in ensuring it continues to have an impact on society, “by putting first aid at the heart of every community”.

‘Lead us into the future’

Dunn said: “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be joining SJA at a crucial time in its long history. 

“Through nearly 30 years of public service, I’ve seen the importance of supporting communities to stay safe and healthy, and the impact it can have when that comes under strain. 

“The role that St John people play, day in day out, in supporting communities up and down the country, has never been more important. 

“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work with every one of our dedicated volunteers and employees to ensure that this cherished and valuable institution is able to serve and support communities for generations to come.”

SJA chair Stuart Shilson said: “We feel extraordinarily fortunate to have Shona joining us at this important time.

“She has genuine commitment to the things we care about at St John, and the skills and temperament to lead us into the future.”  

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