Peter Kellner in line for chair of the NCVO

The journalist and former president of the online polling company YouGov is expected to be handed the role at the umbrella body's AGM in November

Peter Kellner
Peter Kellner

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations is set to appoint the journalist and former YouGov president Peter Kellner as its next chair.

Kellner, a former political analyst on BBC’s Newsnight programme, is expected to take up the role after his appointment is rubber-stamped at the NCVO’s annual general meeting on 21 November.

He will take over from Sir Martyn Lewis, who is to step down after completing the maximum of two three-year terms in the role.

Kellner’s career as a journalist included roles at The Sunday Times, The Independent and The Observer. He was chair of the online polling company YouGov from 2001 until 2007 before becoming its president, a role he held until earlier this year.

Kellner, who will be appointed for an initial three-year term, is a trustee of the anti-smoking charity Ash, the charitable research body the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and the youth leadership charity Uprising. He was also chair of the Royal Commonwealth Society from 2009 to 2013.

An NCVO spokesman declined to confirm whether Kellner was or had ever been a member of any political party, but said he was sure Kellner would be happy to talk about politics when he was in the role.

Kellner is married to the Labour peer Baroness Ashton of Upholland, the former first vice-president of the European Commission, with whom he has two children.

Tanni Grey-Thompson, the president of the NCVO who led the recruitment process for the new chair, said in a statement that Kellner was the stand-out candidate.

She said his experience in chairing the boards of high-profile organisations, combined with his expertise in politics and the media, made him ideally positioned to lead the NCVO in what she said was bound to be an uncertain political environment.

Kellner said he was excited to be taking up the role at a challenging time for the voluntary sector.

"My aim is to support the continuing quest of the sector to be dynamic, innovative and professional, as well as caring, public-spirited and well-respected – and then to help tell that story persuasively to the outside world," he said.

Paul Farmer, chair of the charity chief executives body Acevo, said Kellner was highly regarded in many circles and would be a significant asset to the voluntary sector.

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