Jack Lundie: Why I chose to go to Oxfam

The new director of communications says few organisations could have taken him away from Save the Children

Jack Lundie
Jack Lundie

Mark Goldring, Oxfam's chief executive, was so pleased with the appointment that he tweeted the news. To hire Jack Lundie, the director of communications at rival charity Save the Children, was seen as a coup by some in the sector.

Lundie, who says he applied for the job rather than being headhunted, regards it as an "exciting time" for Oxfam, although its income fell by £17.6m to £367.9m last year. "There is no shortage of talent in the leadership team, with a wealth of experience from different backgrounds," he says. "We're not planning on redefining the organisation, but we are looking for new ways to tell our story and create a new chapter in our history."

He spent three and a half years at Save and says there are very few organisations he would have left that charity for. "Save is an amazing organisation, but, operationally, the new role gave me the opportunity to work at a slightly higher level," he says. "Oxfam is an organisation that I have loved since childhood, with its strong campaigning history."

Lundie believes Save has done some excellent work through brand communications over the past few years - including on Syria, newborn mortality and the Christmas Jumper Day campaign. "The whole organisation bought into the idea of what to do as a brand, which is why it made a big impact," he says. "I want to bring that to Oxfam, but it has its own distinctive values and history, so it is certainly not a question of lifting and shifting the approach."

Before Save, Lundie - a reggae fan - worked at the BBC in various roles, including deputy editor of the long-running children's programme Blue Peter (he has a prized badge after a walk-on role) and leading Comic Relief's interactive team. At Oxfam, he will head a department slimmed down from 80 to 55. "There are fewer of us, but it's a repositioned team that is going to be more strategic," he says. "Oxfam has not been doing anything wrong, but there is an opportunity to make its message more coherent and have a more clearly defined single mission."

Oxfam will not be keeping the "Lift lives for good" slogan, which was launched at Christmas and had a mixed reception. "It was a clever line, and memorable, but it didn't make the audience put their hands in their pockets," says Lundie.

Oxfam recently caused a political row with its report The Perfect Storm, but Lundie doesn't feel it acted beyond its mandate. "Inevitably, what we talk about will be political," he says. "But that doesn't mean politically biased. We'll never step away from speaking out."

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