Profile: Alex Brown, the global finance director at Marie Stopes

Alex Brown, global finance director, Marie Stopes
Alex Brown, global finance director, Marie Stopes

- What does the job involve?

Marie Stopes is a charity which provides sexual health services internationally. My role covers the reporting and capacity-building support for all our global programmes, as well as divisions such as IT, legal and internal audit. At present, I manage between 60 and 80 people, and have a budget of £125m.

- What was your first job in charity?

I've spent 33 years in the sector. My first job was in a rural credit programme in Burkina Faso. I lived in Africa for 15 years, working mostly in microfinance.

- Why did you choose this job?

It's a wonderful organisation, and it's got a really interesting social entrepreneurial model, with perhaps half of our money coming in from the sale of services. It's also poised for a lot of growth - I was brought in to upgrade the administration processes as part of the preparation for that.

- What's the most interesting part of the job?

The diversity. We're operating all over the world and growing substantially. That offers a lot of challenges.

- What's the most challenging part of the job?

When I arrived in 2009 we had to consolidate 43 branches into our financial statements for the first time. That was challenging.

- What's the best advice you've had?

Do only what only you can do. When you get to a senior level it's tempting to do things that are comfortable, but aren't the best use of your time.

Interview by David Ainsworth

Finance Advice

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