Charity Commission names its former data and digital chief as next CEO

The Charity Commission has appointed David Holdsworth as its next chief executive.

The move marks a return to the regulator for Holdsworth, who was previously its deputy chief executive and registrar, where he led on its data handling, digital capability and risk assessment.

Also during his stint at the regulator he oversaw its response to the Grenfell Tower fire and helped set up the National Emergencies Trust, to distribute funding for communities impacted by UK disasters.

He is to take the top role at the Charity Commission in July and replaces Helen Stephenson who has been in the post for seven years.

ACEVO chief executive Jane Ide has described Holdsworth as “a damned good regulator”.

She added that “he played a hugely important part in process of convening local and national charities to really interrogate our response to the Grenfell disaster and where we could have done better for the people that needed us.

“That process led ultimately to the creation of the National Emergencies Trust and the VCS Emergencies Partnership, two organisations that I will always be incredibly proud to have played a part in building, and that have gone on to make real impact for the sector and the communities we serve.”

Holdsworth joins the Charity Commission from regulator the Animal and Plant Health Agency, where he has been its CEO since 2022.

He has also previously been deputy CEO of regulator the Intellectual Property Office, after leaving the Charity Commission, and has held senior roles in the Home Office and private sector.

“I am delighted to announce David’s appointment as CEO, and his return to the Commission,” said Charity Commission chair Orlando Fraser.

“He was the outstanding candidate for the panel, among a diverse and talented group of applicants.

“David brings the experience, talent and character required to lead the Commission.”

Holdsworth added: “I’m delighted to be returning to the Charity Commission and its vital work at such a crucial time. It will be a privilege to once again work with the Commission’s dedicated and talented experts.

“Charities have always played a vital role in our national life, our communities, and our ability to move forward together as a society. Never has this been more needed than now. I look forward to working with the sector as they work today to achieve a better, brighter tomorrow for us all.”

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