Who’s Moving: St Mungo’s, Blue Cross, King’s Fund and more

10 Jun 2024 News

In this fortnightly column, Civil Society looks at people moving roles in the UK charity sector… 

Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross

Laura Lewis/British Red Cross

New CEO for POhWER

Advocacy charity POhWER has announced Felix Davies as its next CEO. He will take up the role on 2 September and succeed Vicky Browning, who has been interim CEO since January. 

He currently works for veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress, where he has been chief operating officer for six months and was director of operations for five years before that.

POhWER chair Antony Kildare said: “We are delighted to welcome Dr Felix Davies as POhWER’s new chief executive. He has a proven track record as both a clinician and senior health and social care leader.  

“At its heart, POhWER is about people, and we were impressed by Felix’s passion for achieving the best possible quality for service users, clients, staff and partners. 

Royal Ballet School appoints first full-time CEO

The Royal Ballet School has appointed Patrick Harrison as its first full-time CEO, to begin later this year. 

He will succeed Christopher Powney, who was artistic director and CEO of the charity for a decade. On his stepping down, the Royal Ballet School decided that the two roles should be distinctly separate for the foreseeable future. 

Harrison is set to join from the English National Ballet, where he has been executive director since 2016.

The Royal Ballet School also announced that its chair, Christopher Rodrigues, has stepped down for medical reasons after four years in post.

Interim chair Anna Birkett will hold the role until a permanent replacement is decided.

Forces Children Scotland CEO steps down

Laura Falconer has announced that she is stepping down as the CEO of Forces Children Scotland this summer after more than three years. 

The charity supports children and young people from armed forces and veteran families through mental health and wellbeing, education and more. 

Falconer said: “I think we have achieved a huge amount in terms of raising the profile of this group of children and young people and their unique life experiences and needs […]

“For Scotland to become a place where children from armed forces families can achieve their potential and thrive, there needs to be long-term, core investment in the support required to overcome some of the barriers they experience to their development, their education, and their wellbeing.”

Disability charity CEO steps down after 30 years

Amo Raju has announced he will step down as CEO of the Derby-based charity Disability Direct in three months. 

Raju was the successor of Richard Shaw, the founder of the user-led charity. Raju was a councillor of Derby City Council from 2015 to 2019, and an associate non-executive director of a local NHS Foundation Trust. 

David Moss, chair of Disability Direct, said: “We are all incredibly sad to lose such a dedicated and inspiring CEO.

“Amo has been a towering and pioneering figure in the third sector and we are honoured his journey started with us which now continues on a national and international platform. 

“Today we benefit from a vision he presented to trustees decades earlier, of a self-funding disability charity. His numerous awards and accolades are proof of the love and admiration he has gained from people across the UK. His leadership will be missed.”

Pancreatic Cancer Action appoints chair

Giulio Codacci-Pisanelli has been appointed as chair of Pancreatic Cancer Action, taking over from Nicola Rees-Mumford, who held the role for a decade. 

Codacci-Pisanelli has had a career in finance working for investment banks like Chase Manhattan, Merrill Lynch and BNP Paribas. His wife Sarah died from pancreatic cancer in 2022. 

“Pancreatic Cancer Action is doing fantastic things and l am looking forward to getting involved in whatever way I can,” said Codacci-Pisanelli.

“I want to help the whole team to achieve the goals of the charity. I hope to apply the skills I acquired during my career in banking, such as managerial and relationship management skills, to help Pancreatic Cancer Action grow and progress.”

David Slater and Gabriella Lesca are also joining as trustees. 

Former Red Cross CEO becomes St Mungo’s chair

Homelessness charity St Mungo’s has appointed former British Red Cross chief executive Mike Adamson as its next chair of trustees, taking over from Joanna Killian in September. 

Vice chair Alex Beidas is acting as interim chair until he takes up the post. 

Adamson, who was CEO of British Red Cross for eight years, said: “I am incredibly excited to be joining St Mungo’s as its next chair of trustees.

“Homelessness and rough sleeping are symptomatic of deeper societal issues which we should not tolerate. Everyone has a right to a roof over their heads.

“I am inspired by the difference that St Mungo’s makes to people every day and the leadership role it can play, in collaboration with others, to shape policy and public discourse to help people find a path away from homelessness and rebuild their lives.”

Blue Cross appoints chair 

Beth Brook has been announced as the new chair of Blue Cross, which provides specialist care, services and support for pets and people.

She takes over from Tim Porter, who has held the role for almost 10 years. 

Brook has held CEO roles at Heart of England Forest, Fair Train and the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.  

Chris Burghes, CEO of Blue Cross said: “Beth’s deep understanding of the sector and her extensive experience will undoubtedly be invaluable as we continue our work to create a future where all pets enjoy a healthy and happy life with people who love them. 

“Not only is Beth a professional in the field, but she is also a true animal lover at heart, bringing with her a dedication to the welfare of pets and their owners.”

New director at the King’s Fund

Zoë Abrams has been appointed as the new director of communications and engagement at the King’s Fund. 

Abrams is currently a communications and advocacy specialist and was previously a director at the British Red Cross and Barnardo’s.

She also spent a decade working across various government departments. 

Sarah Woolnough, chief executive of the King’s Fund, said: “I am delighted to welcome Zoë to the King’s Fund.

“She comes with an excellent track record of driving improvements to policy and practice as well as delivering award-winning communications campaigns. 

“She also brings a wealth of experience supporting organisations to further enhance their impact, which will be invaluable to us as we look to the future and develop our new organisational strategy.”

Leeds Community Foundation appoints first chief operating officer

The £4.9m foundation has announced that Alex Ellis-White has become its first chief operating officer. 

He brings 25 years of experience in strategic communications to the role. He was communications business partner manager for NHS Digital for ten years and previously held roles at Leeds City Council and Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust. 

Steph Taylor, CEO at Leeds Community Foundation, said: “Alex is a fantastic addition to our team and is already making such a positive impact as we embark on our new strategy.

“Alex and our brilliant team will help us to respond to the huge demand for grants in communities right across Leeds and Bradford; while also working closely with businesses and individuals who can make a difference to their local communities by giving through Leeds Community Foundation.” 

Children’s Trust recruits board members

The Children’s Trust, the charity for children with brain injuries, has appointed Helen Hewitt and Helen Farmer to its board. 

Hewitt works as an independent consultant within the education and social care sectors and was chief executive of Chailey Heritage Foundation.

Farmer was most recently director for babies, children and young people transformation and commissioning in Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board. 

Mike Thiedke, chief executive of the Children’s Trust, says: “We are delighted to welcome Helen Farmer and Helen Hewitt to our board. 

“They each bring a great range of diverse perspectives and relevant experience and expertise which will support us to maintain momentum on our recovery plan, develop the next stages of our organisational strategy and ensure we continue to provide the highest quality services to help children with brain injury and neurodisability live the best life possible.”  

David Beckham becomes ambassador of King’s charity

David Beckham has been announced as the new ambassador for the King’s Foundation, which works to support people in their communities. 

The famous footballer met the monarch at Highgrove Gardens to learn more about the charity last week. 

Kristina Murrin, Chief Executive of The King’s Foundation, said: “We are delighted to welcome David Beckham to The King’s Foundation family as an ambassador.

“We look forward to working with David over the coming months and years, to share the good work of the Foundation with a wider audience.”

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