Executive Directors

We have an ambitious strategy to help save the lives of millions of children and give them the chance to fulfill their potential. Our directors are responsible for shaping our goals and ensuring we achieve them. Our directors are guided by and accountable to our Board of Trustees

Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive

Justin started his career with Oxfam as a Policy Adviser on South Africa during the dying days of apartheid, a cause that had been close to his heart as an activist. At Oxfam, he rose through the ranks and helped build campaigns on debt cancellation, Africa, Make Trade Fair and access to medicines.

In 1995 Justin went out to Washington DC to set up Oxfam International, before returning in 1999 as Policy and Campaigns Director. He helped build Oxfam as a global campaigning force.

In 2004 Justin was recruited to Number 10 by Tony Blair where he led efforts on poverty and climate change, and was one of the driving forces behind the Make Poverty History campaign.

He was to stay on under Gordon Brown, becoming his Strategic Communications and Campaigns Director, helping to use new communications strategies to reach the British public on a range of issues, from knife crime to climate change. Justin became Chief Executive of Save the Children in September 2010.

Since his appointment, Justin has increased the charity’s impact for children, increasing its income by over £50m per year since 2010, recruiting hundreds of thousands of new supporters, pioneering new innovative strategies for change from the Humanitarian Leadership Academy to the No Child Born to Die campaign - enabling it to increase the number of children it reaches from 8m to 15.4m in recent years.

Jennifer Geary, Chief Operating Officer

Profile photo of Jennifer Geary

Jennifer joined Save the Children in September 2014 as Chief Operating Officer, covering for Anabel Hoult while Anabel is on maternity leave. She works closely with the Chief Executive focusing on the delivery of our current strategy, Ambition 2015. In addition, Jennifer is responsible for developing our post-2015 strategy in collaboration with Save the Children International and maximising relationships across the Save the Children movement.

Jennifer is on secondment from Barclays, whom she joined in 2002 and where, most recently, she was Chief of Staff to the Group General Counsel. A qualified Chartered Accountant, she has held roles in risk, technology, governance and control, and has substantial experience in supporting executive management in the planning and execution of strategy and change.

Jennifer lives in London with her husband and two children. 

Sam Sharpe, Chief Financial Officer

Sam joined Save the Children in September 2014 from the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID). Immediately before joining, he spent four years in Delhi as Head of DFID’s programme in India. From 2007 to 2010 he was DFID’s Director of Finance and Corporate Performance.

Sam’s first experience of development came as a student volunteer in Kolkata. Before joining Save the Children, he worked for nearly 30 years with the UK Government development programme. He spent 13 years overseas – managing programmes in Zambia and Zimbabwe, and in India during the 1990s, before heading DFID’s South Africa office (2000 to 2004), and India office (2010 to 2014). He also held a range of policy and corporate roles in London, including two secondments to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Brendan Cox, Director of Policy and Advocacy

Brendan is responsible for leading Save the Children's advocacy strategy - ensuring the delivery of our ambitious goals to save millions of children’s lives and millions more fulfil their potential. Brendan has significant experience in the voluntary, public and INGO sectors.

He began his career with a focus on communications and media – these skills were honed at Oxfam where he senior press officer. He then took up the challenge as Executive Director of Crisis Action where he led the development of the organisation – from an idea into a fully functioning organisation. In the years that he led the organisation he took it from one office in London, to offices in eight capitals on four continents combining lobbying, media and campaigning.

In 2008 Brendan became special advisor to Prime Minister Gordon Brown,  where among other things he led a major push at the 2009 UN General Assembly to abolish health user fees, including working with Save the Children in Sierra Leone on the successful effort to abolish health fees for pregnant women and children. Most recently he has been working with the Gates Foundation scoping a possible future global campaign.

Paul Cutler, Director of Human Resources

Paul joined Save the Children in January 2013. He began his career with Procter & Gamble. After his first commercial assignments in digital marketing and eCommerce Paul followed his passion into HR through a range of Learning & Development and HR Business Partner roles.

Paul left P&G in 2009 to start his own coaching, organisational effectiveness and career consultancy, whilst partnering with his brothers to open a restaurant and nightclub in west London that is still going strong today. In 2011 he joined GlaxoSmithKline’s Consumer Healthcare division to become the Business Transformation Director of a major £40million business intelligence and performance management initiative.

Paul has a degree in Geography from Oxford University, and an MA in the Philosophy of Psychology from King’s College London.

Fergus Drake, Director of Global Programmes

Fergus joined Save the Children as Director of UK Programmes in 2009 and is now the Director of Global Programmes managing humanitarian and development operations across the globe.

Prior to this Fergus worked for the Office of Tony Blair in Rwanda advising President Kagame and his Cabinet in achieving their Millennium Development Goals. Before that he worked for Deloitte Consulting for 5 years in their Strategy & Operations practice during which he was seconded to HM Treasury as a Policy Advisor. Fergus was based in Africa from 1999-2003 working for the international NGO, Tearfund, firstly as Programme Director for their Disaster Response Team in Liberia before developing the South Sudan, Kenya and Somalia programmes as Regional Director for East Africa.

Tanya Steele, Director of Marketing, Fundraising & Communications

Tanya joined Save the Children in 2004. As Director of Fundraising she is responsible for significantly growing both the organisation's income and levels of support to deliver dramatic change for children.

Prior to Save the Children, Tanya spent more than a decade in the technology sector working through a range of boom and bust cycles. During this time she held a number of senior business, marketing and communications roles at BT, Siemens and Avaya. Tanya has a BSc in Marketing from Lancaster University and lives in London with her husband Mark and their son Ted.