The Rigby Foundation announces new executive director

Sonia Chhatwal succeeds founder Sir Peter Rigby, who will remain a trustee after 30 years leading the foundation.

Sonia Chhatwal

The learning, health and education charity The Rigby Foundation has appointed a new executive director.

Sonia Chhatwal will join the foundation on 4 September. She replaces the charity’s founder Sir Peter Rigby, who will remain a trustee but step back from the day-to-day running and strategy of the organisation.

Chhatwal has more than 25 years’ experience of working with corporate foundations, most recently serving as the director of the DHL UK Foundation. She was responsible for devising and implementing its first formal strategy, recruiting a new chair and board of trustees, building a portfolio of charity partnerships and engaging employees in DHL Foundation activities.

The Rigby Foundation invests in causes relating to lifelong learning, health and education. It operates separately from the private business The Rigby Group, also founded by Rigby, but does receive annual group funding totalling £2m.

The foundation funds charitable causes such as the South Warwickshire Foundation Trust’s cancer work, the children’s mental health charity Place2Be, and becoming principal sponsor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Chhatwal said: “It is a great honour and a privilege to join The Rigby Foundation. I am proud to continue the work of Sir Peter Rigby and I am very much looking forward to working with the other family members and trustees and to build on the positive impact that has already helped so many communities over so many years.”

Outgoing executive director Sir Peter Rigby said the foundation had been his family’s “principle and constant vehicle” for supporting a broad range of people, communities and interests.

But, he said, the project had been demanding of his time, adding: “It is time now, in the view of the Rigby family trustees, Patricia, James, Steven and myself, to introduce a full-time, experienced person to manage the future strategy and day-to-day issues of our foundation, and we are delighted to have selected Sonia Chhatwal.”

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