He is a former Refugee Council trustee and previously held senior roles at the housing charity Shelter and the Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust. He replaces Donna Covey, who left in August by mutual consent after five years in the role.
A joint statement at the time from Covey and Douglas Board, the charity’s chair, said the organisation was "entering a new phase in which it needs to look ahead to 2017".
The total income of the Refugee Council fell from £20m in 2009/10 to £13m in 2011/12. It attributed the fall to cuts in funding from the UK Border Agency for various services.
Wren said: "I’m looking forward to working with my new colleagues at the Refugee Council, confident that we will continue to provide advice and support of the highest quality to those fleeing persecution and human rights abuses, and to advocate strongly for a just and fair asylum system."
Board, who will step down as chair in December at the end of his six-year term, said: "Maurice is a leader who is utterly courageous and tenacious on behalf of refugees. His experience of the legal and wider humanitarian aspects of refugee and asylum issues, his leadership on gender issues and his commitment to building partnerships will strengthen the Refugee Council and the sector in the years ahead.
Board will be replaced as chair by Yvonne Cass.