The leading suicide prevention charity in the UK and ROI has announced that Julie Bentley has been appointed as its new CEO.
Julie joins Samaritans with three decades of experience in the voluntary sector, having led some of the UK’s well-respected charities including Girlguiding, Family Planning Association, the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and most recently Action for Children. During her time at Girlguiding, Julie developed the charity’s first five year strategy and oversaw a significant increase in fundraising income and brand awareness.
Julie has also been recognised for her inspirational leadership, having been named Britain’s Most Admired Charity CEO in 2014 at the Third Sector Awards and one of the 25 most influential CEOs in the charity sector by Charity Times in 2019.
Julie Bentley said:
“I have long admired the work of Samaritans and it is a tremendous privilege to have been chosen for this role. I’m really excited to be joining colleagues; volunteers and staff across the Samaritans family. I also look forward to working in partnership with the many fabulous people and organisations who share a passion for addressing and responding to the significant mental health challenges we face as a society.”
She is currently Joint Vice Chair of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and has held trustee roles at several other charities, including Shelter. Julie also has an MBA from the Open University and is a mentor and coach to aspiring charity sector leaders.
Chair of Samaritans, Jenni McCartney said: “Julie’s wealth of experience in the third sector, particularly her experience within a charity with organisation-wide volunteer leadership, meant she was an exceptional choice, from a list of high-calibre candidates.
“As well as an outstanding professional career, Julie has a warm and engaging personality. We look forward to welcoming her to Samaritans.”
Julie will succeed Samaritans’ current CEO, Ruth Sutherland in November. Ruth will be stepping down as CEO of Samaritans after five years in the post.
Samaritans has 20,000 volunteers throughout the UK and Ireland and are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for anyone who needs emotional support.