National Emergencies Trust chief steps down

John Herriman, who joined the NET as interim chief executive in February 2019, plans to take up a more conventional charity role

John Herriman
John Herriman

The chief executive of the National Emergencies Trust has stepped down as its first appeal begins to wind down. 

John Herriman, who joined the organisation as interim head in February last year, before being given the position full-time in September, wants to return to a more conventional charity role after taking a break with his young family. 

The NET was launched last year to provide a focal point from which to raise and distribute funding fairly and efficiently after national crises in the UK. 

It launched its first appeal in March to raise funds for UK charities affected by the coronavirus outbreak. 

The appeal, which has raised almost £100m, has moved to a new phase in which it will no longer actively seek new funds, although it will still accept donations through its website. 

“A passionate believer in the role of the voluntary and community sector, John has put collaboration at the heart of the way NET operates, making sure it has been able to integrate effectively into community resilience frameworks and networks,” the charity said in a statement.

"This has been shaped by his belief that building stronger communities and enabling local capacity lies at the heart of an effective emergency response.”

The NET has faced some challenges, including when three BAME sector figures resigned from an equity working group organised by the charity amid concerns that their presence was simply to “validate decisions that had already been made”

Herriman said: “The NET has been a uniquely rewarding challenge over the past 18 months, launching firstly as a charity and secondly launching its first-ever appeal. So much has been enabled and so many people have been helped, and I couldn’t be more proud of the team for making this all possible.

“However, now that the majority of the Coronavirus Appeal funds have been distributed, I want to return to a more conventional charity role focused on tackling some of the longer-term societal issues caused by the pandemic. 

“And, very importantly, after such an intense six months, I’m looking forward to having a short break and spending some time with my young family.”

Lord Dannatt, chair of the NET, said Herriman left the charity “in a strong position with a capable team” in place for any future emergency. 

Mhairi Sharp, chief operating officer, will become interim chief executive.

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