Save the Children UK has appointed Tanya Steele, its executive director of marketing, fundraising and communications, as interim chief executive.
Steele will take the role on 1 February from Justin Forsyth, who announced his departure from the charity in October, saying he planned to take a short break before moving on to the next step of his career.
Steele joined Save the Children in 2004 from the commercial sector, where she spent more than 15 years in marketing and communications, including senior roles at companies such as Siemens and BT.
A spokeswoman for Save the Children confirmed that Steele had been appointed by the charity’s board as interim chief executive while a permanent replacement for Forsyth was recruited. She said the recruitment process was under way but could not say long it would take.
Steele said she was looking forward the challenge of the role.
"Over the past five years Justin Forsyth has led the organisation to ensure we save and protect millions of children, doubling the number of children we have reached in the past five years," she said. "Justin is leaving the organisation with very strong foundations that I will now aim to build on so we can have even more impact for children.
"We have some incredibly exciting plans and initiatives already under way and an amazing team of staff and volunteers."
The charity’s spokeswoman would not be drawn on Steele’s priorities in the new role, beyond saying she would do "whatever it takes to reach and protect children in some of the toughest places in the world".
The spokeswoman was unable to confirm how much Steele would be paid while covering the post but said her salary was being reviewed and would be confirmed in due course.
Nick Jones – who is officially deputy director of marketing, fundraising and communications at Save the Children – has been appointed to cover Steele in the executive director role. He will lead a team of fundraisers that raised £370m in 2014, according to the charity’s latest accounts.
Like Steele, Jones comes from a commercial background, having held a senior finance role at British Airways before joining Save the Children in 2009.
It was announced this morning that Steele would be stepping down from her role as a trustee of the Institute of Fundraising in order to focus on her new responsibilities. She had been elected to the post for a three-year term in July 2014, having previously completed a three-year term on the board between 2009 and 2012.
She had already stepped down as chair of the IoF’s standards committee and was replaced by the independent chair Suzanne McCarthy last September. She remains an IoF fellow.