British Legion appoints first civilian leader

The Royal British Legion has recruited the chief executive of the Falkland Islands government as its next leader. Chris Simpkins will be the first permanent director general at the charity who has not served in the armed forces.

Simpkins: will take over in October
Simpkins: will take over in October
Simpkins, who is expected to take up the role in October, will become the legion’s fourth director general in the last nine months. He has spent the last four years in the South Atlantic, leading the modernisation of the Falkland Islands’ civil service.

A spokeswoman for the legion said his lack of a military background was not a concern. “He was selected because he had the right skills and ideas,” she said. “He has a lot of experience in the public sector of bringing people together and realising goals, and he has worked with senior military officers in the Falklands.”

Simpkins, who will earn a “six-figure salary”, will take over from acting director general Frances Done, who did not apply for the position permanently. Done also has no military background, and also became the legion’s first female director general when she took over from David Willis last December.

Willis had resigned for personal reasons after serving only three months as replacement for long-serving director-general Ian Townsend.

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