‘A damned good regulator’; sector leaders react to new commission chief

David Holdsworth’s appointment as the regulator’s next chief executive is met with praise from voluntary sector leaders

David Holdsworth

Sector leaders have welcomed the appointment of David Holdsworth as the next chief executive of the Charity Commission, describing him as a “damned good regulator” who “really knows the guts of the commission”. 

The Charity Commission announced yesterday that David Holdsworth, who was previously the regulator’s deputy chief executive and most recently held the top job at the Animal and Plant Health Agency, will become chief executive of the commission in July.

He will succeed Helen Stephenson, who said last September that she would step down this summer after seven years in the job.

Jane Ide, chief executive of the charity leaders body Acevo, said in a post on LinkedIn that Holdsworth was a “damned good regulator”, which she said was really important to the success and sustainability of our sector. 

She also said in a statement that she worked with Holdsworth during his time as deputy chief executive of the commission, when he “played a key role in convening the sector in the aftermath of the Grenfell disaster”.

Ide said: “His work then to consider the ways in which civil society could respond better to future national crises led directly to the establishment of the National Emergencies Trust and the VCS Emergencies Partnership, both of which I was extremely proud to play a role in and which have gone on to deliver substantial impact.”

She added that she was sure Holdsworth would “approach the role with evenhandedness and, when necessary, robustness”.

Sarah Vibert, chief executive of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations, added her congratulations, saying: “David brings with him a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of the charity landscape at this critical time.”

“We thank Helen Stephenson for all she has achieved in her time with the Charity Commission and look forward to building on our collaborative relationship as we work with David to create a brighter future for our sector.”

Debra Allcock Tyler, chief executive of the Directory of Social Change, said Holdsworth was an “excellent choice” for the job, saying: “He really knows the ‘guts’ of the commission and its day-to-day work. In our experience he has always been very open, accessible, and committed to improving the commission’s performance. 

“With a refreshed strategy about to be launched and a general election on the horizon there will be big issues to deal with, but he brings a great combination of skills and experience to the challenges ahead.”

Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of the Charity Finance Group, also welcomed the announcement, saying: “Mr Holdsworth brings with him a wealth of experience and understanding of the charity sector, and will be very aware of the challenges that charities face in 2024.

“We look forward to building our collaborative relationship with him and continuing our joint work to support charities. We also thank Helen Stephenson for her commitment to the sector and all she has achieved during her tenure.”

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