Karl Wilding steps down as chief executive of the NCVO

Wilding says new leadership is necessary to bring the cultural change the umbrella body wants to achieve

Karl Wilding
Karl Wilding

Karl Wilding, chief executive of the NCVO, has stepped down from the role after 18 months so that someone who is “not part of the past” can take over.

Wilding, who took up the role in September 2019 having already spent 21 years at the umbrella body, said in a statement today that he was relinquishing the role with immediate effect.

Sarah Vibert, director of membership and engagement, has been appointed interim chief executive, although Wilding will remain with the NCVO in an as-yet unspecified role until the end of March.

Wilding led the organisation through a restructure and the drawing up of a new strategy in 2020. But, he said, there remained “more to do to take forward changes in how NCVO works”.

He said: “When I was appointed chief executive, I was clear that we had to challenge ourselves to think differently and do things better.

“We’ve been public about our work on equality, diversity and inclusion, which shone a light on the need for deep cultural change in the organisation.”

Wilding said the umbrella body had made substantial progress in the past 18 months, but needed to go further.

“With the strategy review, organisational restructure and the first part of our work on EDI complete, now is the right time for me to step away. Sometimes leadership is about knowing when to hand the baton on and I know I am leaving NCVO in safe hands.”

He said: “I believe that new leadership will be able to lead the necessary cultural change NCVO is determined, rightly, to achieve.

“That requires someone new, not part of the past.”

He added that he did not know what would come next for him, but he would “continue to be a committed champion of charities and volunteering”.

Wilding took over as chief executive from Sir Stuart Etherington, who had been in the role for 25 years.

Priya Singh, chair of the NCVO, said she wanted to thank Wilding for his many years of service to the umbrella body, particularly for his leadership on its new strategy, its response to the coronavirus pandemic and his role in initiating the charity’s EDI work.

“Karl’s decision to leave is rooted in his integrity and a genuine desire to do the right thing for the organisation he loves,” she said.

Singh said Vibert, who joined the NCVO in January last year, would work closely with Wilding to ensure a smooth transition.

The NCVO hopes to appoint a new chief executive by the autumn.

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