RNIB appoints Sally Harvey to chief executive role

Harvey has been acting chief executive since Lesley-Anne Alexander retired in October last year

Sally Harvey
Sally Harvey

The Royal National Institute of Blind People has appointed Sally Harvey as its permanent chief executive.

Harvey, former managing director of the charity’s subsidiary RNIB Places, has been acting chief executive of the RNIB since October 2016, when Lesley-Anne Alexander retired after 12 years at the helm.

Harvey has been at the RNIB since 2009 in several senior leadership roles, the charity said, and was previously acting chief executive and director of housing at the Abbeyfield Society and director of resident services at the Peabody Trust.

She will be paid between £150,000 and £160,000 a year as chief executive, the charity said, which is the same as her predecessor’s wage.

According to its entry on the Charity Commission’s online register, the RNIB had an income of £114.5m in the year to 31 March 2016 and employs 2,359 people.

Harvey said: "I’m honoured to be trusted with this important role. We are at a turning point. The RNIB is changing and we will continue to adapt and modernise our approach.

"Alongside our community, supporters and partners, we are working to ensure that being blind or partially sighted isn’t a barrier, everyone with sight loss can live their life with confidence and the eye health of generations to come is prioritised." 

The RNIB has made a number of changes to in the past year. One hundred staff left the charity earlier this year after a restructure. The charity also completed a merger with its partner charity Action for Blind People.

A subsidiary of the charity, RNIB Solutions, which was set up by the charity in 2013 to generate income and provide services such as talking books and a Braille library, has also lost 23 staff as part of a restructure of the division after it made a loss in four of the past five years.

Eleanor Southwood, chair of the RNIB, said in a statement: "On behalf of the board of trustees, I would like to congratulate Sally on her appointment as our new chief executive. 

"Blind and partially sighted people face significant barriers to inclusion in society. In Sally’s appointment we have someone who will work with our community to tackle this head on."

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