Joseph Rowntree Foundation makes coronavirus civil servant group chief executive

Paul Kissack will join in September, having been director general at the Department for Health and Social Care, working on the Covid-19 crisis since April

Paul Kissack
Paul Kissack

The research and policy charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has appointed one of the top civil servants working on the coronavirus outbreak as its next group chief executive.

Paul Kissack will leave his position as director general at the Department of Health and Social Care to join the charity by September.

Kissack has been at the DHSC since April, when he was seconded from his role as director general of strategy and change at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to work across Whitehall on the coronavirus crisis.

Before that, he was deputy chief executive for policy and organisational strategy at the Ministry for Children in New Zealand.

The York-based JRF role, which also includes leading the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, has not been filled since July 2019, when Campbell Robb stepped down to take up the top job at the social justice charity Nacro.

Since Campbell’s exit, the JRF has been run by the group directors under Will Haire, chair of the charity.

Kissack said he felt “honoured to be joining such an outstanding organisation to help build on its proud tradition of inspiring change and strengthening communities”.

He said: “Joseph Rowntree’s vision of a prosperous country free of poverty has never felt more relevant or urgent.

“As we emerge from the Covid crisis, it is vital that we redouble our efforts to address stark social and regional inequalities.”

Haire said: “Paul’s track record of delivering complex services locally and policy development at the heart of government makes him the right person to continue the process of transformation under way across all parts of the JRF/JRHT group.”

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