Government confirms appointment of next Charity Commission chair

Martin Thomas will take up the position on 27 December for a three-year term

Martin Thomas

The government has confirmed the appointment of Martin Thomas as the next chair of the Charity Commission. 

It comes after MPs on the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Committee backed Thomas’s appointment after a scrutiny hearing yesterday. 

The committee concluded that Thomas would bring “considerable experience in, and knowledge of, the charity sector to the role”. 

In a statement today, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport confirmed that Thomas would take up the position on 27 December for a three-year term. 

Nadine Dorries, the culture secretary, said Thomas would bring a “broad range of regulatory and charity sector experience to the role of Charity Commission chair”. 

She said: “I look forward to working with Martin as he takes on this important post, ensuring public confidence in our charities is maintained.”

Thomas, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the insurance and financial sectors, is the chair of four charities, including the poetry charity Forward Arts Foundation and Downside Up, which works to support Russian children with Down syndrome and which Thomas has chaired since 1995. He will relinquish all four positions before becoming Charity Commission chair. 

He has previously been a trustee of nine other charities including Women for Women International, which supports female survivors of war, the Syncona Foundation, which makes grants for the treatment and prevention of cancer, and the charity information service Guidestar International. 

Thomas, who studied classics at the University of Oxford, said: “The Charity Commission is seen as independent, precise, clear, consistent, calm and just. 

“It has true authority and expertise in the areas where it operates. I am very honoured and very proud to have a chance to help it hold fast to these attributes as it enters the next chapter of its history.”

Helen Stephenson, chief executive of the Charity Commission, said: “Martin brings a wealth of experience and my team and I look forward to working with him.”

Thomas will be paid £62,500 a year for an expected two-and-a-half days a week.

Ian Karet has been interim chair of the commission since Baroness Stowell stepped down in February.

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