Alistair McLean will take up the reins on 2 February, one year before the FRSB's three-year £4m funding expires. So far, 950 charities have joined, but 2,000 are needed if the scheme is to sustain itself by fees.
Lindsay Boswell, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising, said increasing membership would be McLean's overwhelming priority. "One of the key routes to do that is to work with and engage with charities more," said Boswell. "This is self-regulation, so charities must feel the FRSB is working for them."
Boswell said charities' "grumbles and gripes" about the FRSB had been caused by the organisation's tactics and communication, and that fundraisers retained huge support for the principle of self-regulation.
But David Lepper, Labour MP for Brighton Pavilion, warned that McLean could jeopardise public confidence if he got too cosy with fundraisers. He said the organisation "should not be frightened of dealing with complaints, because that's what the public wants".
Mick Aldridge, chief executive of the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association and one of four FRSB directors who interviewed six candidates for the £60,000 job, said McLean would be an effective recruitment officer. "He stood out on his strength of personality," said Aldridge. "He's a mixture of no-nonsense and amiability."
McLean was formerly chief executive of the National Greyhound Racing Club. Clarissa Baldwin, chief executive of Dogs Trust, was an assessor to Lord Donoughue in his 2007 review of the greyhound industry, which was highly critical of the club. Baldwin said McLean had conviction and was an "good, honest broker who will appeal to people".
McLean, who has also worked for London Wasps rugby union club, Ernst & Young and Johnson & Johnson, was unavailable for comment.
- See Editorial, page 12
Selling self-regulation to 1,000 charities while keeping fundraisers and the public happy might sound tricky, but Alistair McLean should know all about tough assignments.
At London Wasps rugby club, he oversaw its protracted bid to find a new ground. And in his most recent job as chief executive of the National Greyhound Racing Club, he was at the heart of a bitter turf war with another greyhound regulator. It led to both organisations being dissolved and a single, self-regulatory body being formed at the start of this year.
In his review of greyhound regulation in 2007, Lord Bernard Donoughue reported that the club's budgetary processes had been described as "Byzantine". It lacked trust and credibility, the report said.
It also said the Government was "reluctant to introduce statutory regulation and would do so only if the industry were obstinately to refuse to reform itself". Ministers have also said much the same about fundraising. JP