Save the Children UK appoints Kevin Watkins as chief executive

The executive director of the Overseas Development Institute will take up the role at the end of September

Kevin Watkins
Kevin Watkins

Save the Children UK has appointed Kevin Watkins as its next chief executive.

Watkins, executive director of the think tank the Overseas Development Institute, replaces Justin Forsyth, who stood down in February after five years in the role.

In a statement announcing the appointment, Save the Children said Watkins was "one of the world’s leading thinkers on international development".

Watkins, 61, who is a visiting professor of international development at the London School of Economics, spent seven years working for the United Nations and 13 years at Oxfam. He also worked at the policy body the Brookings Institution, based in Washington DC.

He will be paid £143,000 a year for running the charity, which had an income of £370m in 2014 and employs about 2,000 staff. 

He will take up the new role on 28 September.

Peter Bennett-Jones, the chair of Save the Children UK, said Watkins would bring "enormous experience and expertise, and will make a huge contribution to realising our goal to reach the most deprived and marginalised children".

In a statement, Watkins said: "I’m joining Save the Children because I believe in the organisation’s mission, its values and the commitment of its staff – and because I’m passionate about the cause it champions."

Tanya Steele, executive director of marketing, fundraising and communications at Save the Children UK, has been acting chief executive since Forsyth’s departure. 

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