Samaritans appoints Keith Leslie as new Chair of Trustees

The leading suicide prevention charity in the UK and ROI has appointed Keith Leslie as the new Chair of Trustees at Samaritans.

Keith joins Samaritans in January 2021. He began his career with Shell in front-line and general management roles, before becoming a partner for consulting firm McKinsey and then at Deloitte, working at a senior level for industry and government before he retired in 2017. But it’s Keith’s wealth of experience in supporting good mental health which made him an exceptional candidate for this new role. He is currently Chair of Mental Health At Work, a community interest company (CIC) providing expertise around workplace mental health, and in the past he was Chair of Trustees at the Mental Health Foundation, the UK’s oldest mental health charity now focused on the prevention of mental ill health.

Keith’s leadership credentials include two decades of practice in the field, more than 30 articles on leadership, change and restructuring topics published in European Management Journal, McKinsey Quarterly, Wall Street Journal amongst others. His skills in this area also come to the fore with his forthcoming book entitled, A Question of Leadership – leading organisational change in times of crisis, which is being published by Bloomsbury in spring 2021.

“I am honoured and excited to become Chair at Samaritans. This is an organisation without parallel in its impact, its potential and its scale – the 20,000 volunteers and the Samaritans brand are unique. I look forward to contributing – and learning.”

Keith Leslie

Current Chair Jenni McCartney will be stepping down in December, after spending six years in the role and 37 years as a Samaritans volunteer. Jenni said Keith’s expertise in mental health and his leadership experience make him the right candidate for the job: “The calibre of the candidates was outstanding, but the selection committee agreed that Keith’s proven passion for the mental health cause, together with his exceptional leadership and organisational change background, and the excellent feedback from Samaritans Branch Directors, made him the right choice.

“It’s a wonderful organisation and it’s an honour to work with such dedicated people, knowing we all want the very best future for Samaritans and those who need us. We welcome Keith to Samaritans. I am thrilled to be able to hand over the reins to a fellow Scot and wish him all the best in his new role.”

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