RNIB appoints retail expert as new chief executive

Matt Stringer, who has worked in the retail sector for 30 years, will take up the role next week

Matt Stringer
Matt Stringer

The Royal National Institute of Blind People has appointed the retail expert Matt Stringer as chief executive.

Stringer, who has worked in retail for 30 years, has held senior leadership roles at companies including Marks & Spencer and Carphone Warehouse. Most recently he has been working on the business transformation of Mothercare.

This will be his first role in the voluntary sector as a staff member or trustee.

A spokeswoman for the charity said a panel of blind and partially sighted people, formed from the charity’s Connect Voices network, had been part of the selection process for Stringer, who is not disabled and does not experience sight loss.

"It has been a highly involved, long process that has involved several different stages, all of which is testament to the fact that we are confident we have chosen the right candidate," said the spokeswoman.

The charity’s board of trustees, she added, also included blind and partially sighted people.

Sally Harvey, the previous permanent chief executive, left in April last year after the Charity Commission and Ofsted opened investigations into the charity about safeguarding concerns at a children's home.

Stringer, who will take up the post on Tuesday, will be paid between £160,000 and £170,000 a year.

"This is slightly more than his permanent predecessor, who was paid between £150,000 and £160,000," the spokeswoman said. "This increase is in line with the charity’s annual salary review, which sees all RNIB staff remuneration adjusted accordingly."

Eliot Lyne, the deputy chief executive who has been interim chief executive since Harvey's departure, will leave at the end of May after a short handover period.

Stringer said in a statement: "I am very excited about what the RNIB can achieve over the next few years and the part I can play in that.

"My experience in retail has instilled in me a passion for understanding people’s needs and developing the right products or services to meet them.

"I’m inspired by what I have seen so far and am excited to be getting out to meet staff and blind and partially sighted people in the coming weeks."

Eleanor Southwood, chair of the RNIB, said in a statement that Stringer "brings a wealth of experience of leadership in complex organisations that are going through change".

The charity said in a statement that Lyne had "transformed the organisation’s financial position and led the development and implementation of a refreshed brand and strategy, which reconnects RNIB with its core purpose".

In January, the charity reported a surplus after four years of deficits.

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