Retail expert to take over at top of the NCS Trust

Mark Gifford of Waitrose will on 2 March become chief executive of the social enterprise that runs the National Citizen Service

Mark Gifford
Mark Gifford

The social enterprise that runs the National Citizen Service has announced that the retail expert Mark Gifford will succeed Michael Lynas as chief executive.

Gifford, who will take up the £150,000-a-year role at the NCS Trust on 2 March, is director for shop and trade at Waitrose & Partners.

He is a newcomer to the voluntary sector, having worked for the John Lewis Partnership, which owns Waitrose, since 2000.

He was director of retail operations (north) at Waitrose for four years before taking up his current position in March 2017.

A statement from the NCS Trust said Gifford was responsible for running all the supermarket’s shops and for leading the 48,000 partners who work in them.

"His experience in setting strategies to deliver the partnership’s mission and goals will be invaluable to NCS as it moves into its second decade, a new delivery network and as exciting new partners come on board," the release added.

Although Gifford has not worked in the voluntary sector, he is chair of a board of governors at a school in Manchester.

In his profile on the business networking site LinkedIn, Gifford says: "Outside of work, I am a family man, active in my community and proud to be called a Mancunian!"

The NCS, which was set up by the former Prime Minister David Cameron in 2010, received a grant of £185.7m from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport in 2017/18.

In a statement, Gifford said: "What NCS has achieved in its short history is deeply impressive.

"Making a difference to the lives of young people so they can be the best they can be inspires me, and I am excited that my skills in the private sector combined with interests in my private life come together in a truly unique role.

"Our mission isn’t to leave a better world for our young people; it is to leave better young people for the world."

The trust hired the headhunters Odgers Berndtson as part of the recruitment process.

Shortlisted candidates were set a presentation task by an internal recruitment panel that included four young people, who were all former NCS national youth board members, as well as Brett Wigdortz, chair of the trust, and Jermain Jackman, youth adviser to the trust board.

Nicky Morgan, the culture secretary, said Gifford would "bring a fresh approach to how we support our young people through the organisation and help have a real, positive impact on their lives".

A trust spokeswoman said Gifford would not relocate from Manchester but, as with his current job, would be working in London.

She said the trust had yet to agree a final payment figure with Odgers Berndtson.

She added that Gifford would be paid the same as Lynas, who helped set up the trust in 2009 and became its first chief executive in 2013.

Lynas will become a patron of the trust after his departure.

Wigdortz said: "Over the past 10 years under Michael’s leadership, the NCS has reached almost 600,000 young people with its life-changing programme and more than 14 million hours of volunteering have taken place.

"As we look to the next decade, embedding our new network of partners and continuing to transform the lives of young people across England and Northern Ireland, I’m confident that Mark is the best person to take us forward."

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