Chris Sherwood appointed chief executive of the RSPCA

The chief executive of Relate will join on 1 August, replacing Jeremy Cooper, who stood down in July

Chris Sherwood
Chris Sherwood

The RSPCA has appointed Chris Sherwood as its next chief executive.

Sherwood, chief executive of the relationships charity Relate, will succeed Jeremy Cooper, who stood down with immediate effect in July having served just over a year in the role.

Sherwood joined Relate in 2012 as director of policy, communications and digital services before becoming chief executive in July 2015.

The RSPCA said in a statement that Sherwood, who has worked in the voluntary sector for more than 15 years, was instrumental in moving Relate to a new organisational structure, developing its digital services and growing its campaigning voice.

Before joining Relate, he was director of innovation and development at the disability charity Scope and previously worked at the innovation foundation Nesta.

Sherwood will join the charity after a period of uncertainty at the top of the organisation.

Cooper’s stint as chief executive was preceded by more than two years in which the RSPCA did not have a permanent leader after Gavin Grant stepped down in 2014 for health reasons. Grant was in the role for just over two years.

Sherwood, who will take up the position on 1 August, said it was a "huge honour" to be appointed RSPCA chief executive.

"I am excited about the prospect of leading such a well-respected and supported organisation and advancing its mission to create a world that is kinder to animals," he said.

Paul Draycott, chair of the trustee recruitment panel, said Sherwood had excellent leadership credentials and a track record of delivering innovative change.

"He presented a strong vision about how the RSPCA can continue to shape the debate about animals in society and how we can develop and maintain services that meet the needs of animals and the people who care for them," said Draycott.

Sherwood will be paid £150,000 a year for the role, the same as Cooper was on.

The charity had an income of £143.5m in 2016, employs about 1,700 people and manages about 8,000 volunteers.

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