Versus Arthritis appoints Deborah Alsina as its next chief executive

She will join in March from the older people's charity Independent Age

Deborah Alsina

Versus Arthritis has appointed Deborah Alsina as its next chief executive.

Alsina, who has spent the past two years as the chief executive of the older people’s charity Independent Age, is the long-term successor to Liam O’Toole, who retired last year after more than a decade in the role.

Versus Arthritis said at the time that O’Toole’s decision to step down was not related to issues at the organisation, including it filing a serious incident report with the Charity Commission after multiple employee accounts of systemic racism, racially motivated microaggressions and bullying.

Alsina, who will join VA in March, has more than 30 years of voluntary sector experience. She previously spent 10 years as chief executive of Bowel Cancer UK, during which she oversaw the charity’s merger with Beating Bowel Cancer, which was completed in 2018.

She was appointed MBE in 2016, and in 2017 was named Charity Chief Executive of the Year at the Third Sector Awards.

“I’ve had first-hand experience of how hard it can be to live with chronic pain and of watching loved ones struggle,” said Alsina.

“I can’t wait to start working with the board and the Versus Arthritis team to ensure we stand firmly alongside people with arthritis, providing the support, voice and hope our community wants and needs.”

Roger McMillan, chair of Versus Arthritis, said: “Deborah’s considerable experience and proven leadership will ensure that Versus Arthritis goes from strength to strength in the coming years.”

Ellen Miller has been acting chief executive since O’Toole stepped down.

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