Employee who started at the bottom of Refugee Action rises to chief executive

Tim Naor Hilton
Tim Naor Hilton

A man who joined Refugee Action in an entry-level position 19 years ago has been appointed its next chief executive. 

Tim Naor Hilton, who has been the charity’s interim chief executive since the departure of Stephen Hale earlier this year, joined Refugee Action as a frontline development worker in Manchester in 2002. 

He subsequently became an area manager for the charity before being appointed its head of asylum in 2015. 

Hale, who had been in the role for six years, has become chief architect of the Global Climate Collaborative, which aims to persuade governments to accelerate action on climate change. 

Naor Hilton, who took up the permanent role on 28 April, said: “Refugees and people seeking asylum are facing more challenges than ever before, with the government proposing to reduce their rights and a flawed and dehumanising accommodation and support system in place.”

He said he was committed to ensuring that the next chief executive of the charity would be a person with lived experience, and said he and the board would work to put in place support and systems to maximise the chances of that happening. 

“I start this new role with a big commitment to ramping up our plans to shift power within the charity to people with lived experience. This means not only ensuring refugees are at the heart of our movement but creating employment opportunities for them at Refugee Action and the wider sector.”

Penny Lawrence, chair of Refugee Action, said: “The board is confident in and inspired by Tim's values-led leadership, his vision for Refugee Action, his commitment to shifting power to refugees, and to his leadership.

“His track record of working collaboratively with an openness to learning and such humility but always with a steely eye on what matters most to the refugees and asylum seekers will serve Refugee Action so well in these challenging uncertain times.”

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