Atkins spent 11 years at Tearfund, eight as Policy and Campaigns Director, where he campaigned on climate change and poverty issues. He was a key organiser of the Make Poverty History campaign, and is a board member of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, where he works with Tony Juniper.
He said: “I have long admired Friends of the Earth. I am delighted to be asked to lead the organisation at what is a critical time for the global environment. The need to combat climate change and reverse the loss of the world’s biodiversity has never been greater.”
Simon Counsell, who chairs the Friends of the Earth’s board, said: “We were looking for an exceptional person, who can build on the successes of the past few years and publicly champion a charity that makes a real difference to people and the environment. I am certain we have found such a person in Andy Atkins.”
Outgoing director Tony Juniper said he was proud of his work at Friends of the Earth and happy to be handing over to Atkins.