Macmillan chief to step down after 20 years with the charity

Lynda Thomas says she plans to 'focus on her work in non-executive positions'

Lynda Thomas
Lynda Thomas

Lynda Thomas is stepping down as chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support after eight years.

Thomas first joined Macmillan in 2001, where she held senior roles in public affairs and fundraising before becoming interim chief executive in 2014. She was appointed to the role permanently in 2015.

The charity said that Thomas was not moving to a new job but would “focus instead on her work in non-executive positions”.

Thomas is expected to stay on until her successor joins. The recruitment process is due to begin next week. 

Thomas said: “After more than 20 incredible years with Macmillan, it is with very mixed emotions that I have decided to step down from my role. Leading this inspiring charity has been both an honour and a privilege.

“The pandemic has proven that, together with our volunteers, partners and professionals, we are strong, flexible and resilient, and I’m so proud of everything we achieved for people with cancer together during these difficult times. 

“It has also heralded a new era where cancer care and the fundraising environment are evolving.

"I believe the time is right to hand over to new leadership to take the organisation forward and ensure Macmillan continues to do whatever it takes for people with cancer long into the future.”

Macmillan’s income fell from £233m in the year to December 2019 to £195m in 2020, a drop of about 16 per cent, as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, according to the latest data published by the Charity Commission. 

The charity’s 2020 annual accounts show that it took the “particularly difficult decision” of reducing the size of the charity during the pandemic, and cut about 60 jobs.

Richard Murley, chair of trustees at Macmillan, said that Thomas would “leave a lasting legacy of determination and resolve to do the very best for people with cancer”.

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