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London, 15 July 2021 - Gwen Hines, executive director of global programmes at Save the Children UK, has been appointed chief executive of the charity.

Hines, 47, joined Save the Children in 2018 from the Department for International Development, where she ran its operations in Malawi and Bangladesh before serving as director of international relations. She also spent three years as the UK’s executive director at the World Bank. Her appointment follows the announcement earlier this year that Kevin Watkins, 66, had decided to stand down this summer after five years as CEO.

Hines takes charge of Save the Children UK at a time when more than 5 million children are on the brink of starvation in 13 countries. She will help to lead a $130m global appeal to prevent famine as a combination of Covid-19, the climate crisis and conflict causes acute shortages of food and water in countries from Haiti to Yemen, South Sudan and Afghanistan.

‘The worst hunger crisis this century is a warning to the world that we’re seeing a great reversal of progress made in the last 20 years on infant mortality and child health,’ Hines said. ‘Millions of children, especially girls, are not going back to schools that were shut down by the pandemic. Yet these are problems that have solutions. By investing a small fraction of what richer countries have spent on protecting themselves during the pandemic we can stop this reversal in its tracks and build a better future for the next generation.’

Hines, who is married to a special needs teacher and has two sons, aged 14 and 16, starts her new role with immediate effect. Her priorities in the UK will include cross-sector campaigns on the overseas aid budget and child poverty.

In a statement, she said she was determined to match Save the Children’s high ambitions for children with a ‘culture of kindness’ among staff, who have been hard-hit by the pandemic, and to increase diversity and inclusion so that the charity better reflects the communities it serves.

Hines, who will be responsible for a budget of more than £250 million and nearly 1,000 staff, including some working in hostile environments, will earn £143,000 a year, the same as her predecessor. She and her fellow directors took a 10% pay cut last year as the pandemic closed Save the Children’s 120 shops and caused the cancellation of numerous fundraising events.

‘Our brilliant fundraising teams are starting to see a return to normality,’ she said. ‘I’m determined to ensure that every pound raised for our programmes in the UK and around the world is spent on making maximum impact for children. We’ll be consulting children as never before to make sure we’re respecting their wishes in our work alongside them.’

Tsitsi Chawatama-Kwambana, chair of Save the Children UK, said: ‘Gwen has an outstanding track record in supporting the development of staff, building effective teams and delivering results. I’m thrilled to have her as CEO and the board is confident she will bring a strong focus on impact and people-centred leadership to Save the Children UK and our global movement.’ 


For more information, please contact media@savethechildren.org.uk