Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation hires health policy expert as CEO

Cancer Research’s policy head is leaving to become chief executive at the Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation.

Sarah Woolnough is to take over as chief executive at the recently merged charities in December 2020, replacing Kay Boycott.

At Cancer Research UK she is executive director of policy and information and has been seconded to the Department of Health to co-write the National Cancer Strategy.

Woolnough is a trustee of MQ:Transforming Mental Health and the National Cancer Research Institute. She was previously a trustee of Association of Medical Research Charities, Action on Smoking and Health and baby charity Bliss.

“It’s an honour to be appointed CEO of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation,” said Woolnough.

“Respiratory health is a cause I care deeply about, and it’s been inspiring to see the extraordinary lengths that they’ve gone to in supporting people with lung conditions over many years, and most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It will be a real privilege to join the charity at such a crucial time, and I look forward to being part of a team committed to making real change for the 12 million people in the UK affected by lung disease.”

Boycott is the first chief executive of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, and led Asthma before they merged in January this year.

“I’m extremely proud of what we’ve managed to achieve together, including proving the value of the merger. Leaving such a dedicated and committed team will be a big wrench, but I’m thrilled to be handing over to a leader of Sarah’s calibre,” said Boycott.

Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation chair Baroness Tessa Blackstone added: “I am delighted to welcome Sarah to the charity and greatly look forward to working with her.

“With respiratory disease never higher on the national agenda, she joins us at an opportune time to deliver even more for people with lung conditions.”

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