Stonewall chief executive to step down next month

Ben Summerskill has been head of the gay rights charity for 11 years

Ben Summerskill
Ben Summerskill

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity Stonewall, has announced that he will step down next month.

Summerskill, who has been in the role for 11 years, said he had no plans for the immediate future other than to "take a bit of time to relax". 

Under Summerskill’s stewardship, Stonewall grew from employing 20 staff to 75, and annual income increased from £1.3m to £4.2m.

"I’ve had a wonderful 11 years at Stonewall," he said. "As a charity, it comprises a constellation of staff and volunteers who, working together, have achieved remarkable things.

"The fact that Stonewall’s Workplace Programme now engages the employers of 10 million people and one in three local authorities in Britain now works with us to tackle homophobic bullying in schools is testament to some of the fantastic teamwork I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with."

Jacqueline Davies, chair of the charity, said: "In the past decade, under Ben’s direction, Stonewall has become a hugely influential campaigning body that has played a key role in achieving legal equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Britain – from the repeal of Section 28 to the recent same-sex marriage bill."

Before joining Stonewall, Summerskill worked as assistant editor at The Observer newspaper. In 2008 he was awarded an OBE and 2011 he was shortlisted as Britain’s Most Admired Charity Chief Executive in the Third Sector awards.

Ruth Hunt, deputy chief executive of Stonewall, will become acting chief executive while a permanent replacement for Summerskill is recruited.

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