Our Leadership

CEO and Executive Leadership Team

Our Chief Executive and Executive Leadership Team are responsible for shaping our goals and ensuring we achieve them. They are guided by, and are accountable to our Board of Trustees.
Kevin Watkins, CEO of Save The Children.

Kevin Watkins, Chief Executive

Kevin joined Save the Children in September 2016, after spending three years as Executive Director of the Overseas Development Institute.

Previously, he held a senior academic role at the Brookings Institution, and acted as an adviser to the UN Special Envoy for Education, before which he spent seven years at the United Nations, as director and lead author of UNESCO’s Education for All Global Monitoring Report and UNDP’s Human Development Report.

He is a senior visiting research fellow at Oxford University’s Centre for Global Economic Governance and a Visiting Professor of International Development at the London School of Economics.

Sam Sharpe, Chief Financial Officer

Sam Sharpe, Chief Financial Officer

Sam joined Save the Children in September 2014 from Britain's Department for International Development (DFID). Immediately before joining, he spent four years in Delhi as the 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, India. Before joining Save the Children, he worked for nearly 30 years with the British Government's development programme. This included 13 years overseas, managing programmes in Zambia and Zimbabwe, and in India during the 1990s, before heading up DFID’s South Africa office (2000 to 2004), and India office (2010 to 2014).

Sam has also held a range of policy and corporate roles in London, including two secondments to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Kirsty McNeill, Executive Director of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns

Kirsty McNeill, Executive Director

Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns

Kirsty leads teams to galvanise the public and influence policymakers on humanitarian action, global development and help for children here in the UK.

Previously, she founded a consultancy advising some of the world’s leading charities and spent three years as a Special Adviser in Number 10. She came to Downing Street having led the policy and influencing work of DATA, Bono and Bob Geldof’s advocacy organisation, in Britain, Germany, France, Italy and the EU institutions.

Before joining DATA she was on the board of Make Poverty History and managed the Stop AIDS Campaign, successfully negotiating a commitment to universal access to AIDS treatment from the 2005 G8. Today she is on the board of the Holocaust Educational Trust and is a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

Gemma Sherrington, Executive Director of Fundraising and Marketing

Gemma Sherrington, Executive Director

Fundraising and Marketing

Gemma leads teams responsible for engaging Save the Children’s supporters in the UK who generously give their time, money and voice to support our goals for children.

Gemma has over 15 years of fundraising and marketing experience. She joined Save the Children in 2007 as a New Ventures Manager in the Fundraising team. Subsequently Gemma has held Director positions in Community Fundraising, Retail, Innovation and Fundraising Campaigns, as well as leading on Save the Children’s broadcast partnership with ITV’s Text Santa. Much of Gemma’s work at Save the Children has focused on building integrated fundraising campaigns in collaboration with colleagues across the organisation.

Prior to joining Save the Children, she worked in fundraising at NSPCC, Cardinal Hume Centre and WaterAid. 

Clare Conaghan, HR Director

Clare Conaghan, Executive Director

Human Resources

Clare joined Save the Children in November 2013, as Deputy HR Director to transform HR Operations, leading on a number of major initiatives, including delivery of our new HR System.

Clare works closely with the CEO and the other Executive Directors to ensure delivery of our People Strategy, providing strategic and operational leadership to the HR department.

A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Clare has almost 20 years' experience and has held various HR roles within both public and private sector organisations. She has also provided consultancy on major initiatives, including a wide-scale transformational change programme for London Underground, to deliver improved performance through cultural change.

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