Carnegie UK – successful values-driven Chair search for a leading national wellbeing charity

Saxton Bampfylde were briefed in 2022 to identify and attract suitable candidates for the role of Chair to succeed, Sir John Elvidge, who had come to the end of his term serving as Chair. We were briefed to look broadly for senior leaders across the non-profit, public and private sectors, who brought a track record as an effective Chair and Non-Executive. Personal style and approach were considered equally as important as the right experience. Candidates would need to be values-driven leaders who bring proven experience of building effective, impactful and inclusive organisations. All candidates would be highly motivated by and deeply committed to the work and mission of Carnegie UK. They would be passionate about the vision for wellbeing for a fairer society at the heart of Carnegie UK’s work and helping to build a culture and organisation that can truly sustain this in the longer term.  

Our approach saw us look broadly across all sectors, and particularly for those who had experience of strategically steering the conversation and had touched mental health, health, social care sectors, economic or environmental wellbeing, in either an executive or more desirably, in a non-executive Chair capacity. The focus in the public sector was on former Chairs and in some instances chief executives of large organisations working is the areas previously mentioned. We also looked for former permanent secretaries, or chief executives of local authorities and large government agencies who had gone on to develop portfolio careers but brought strong experience of how to influence policy makers. Within the not-for-profit sector, we targeted individuals who had been Chairs of large people-focused charities, or who had strong links to organisations with a focus on wellbeing for a fairer society. The search was geographically nationwide. 

David Emerson was appointed to the role. For fifteen years David was the Chief Executive of the Association of Charitable Foundations, the professional membership body for the UK’s charitable trusts and foundations. Currently he chairs the Longleigh Foundation and the national charity ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England). 


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