Comic Relief hires digital strategy expert as next chief executive

Comic Relief has recruited a digital strategy and branding expert from the private sector to lead the charity.

Samir Patel joins from digital strategy firm Blue State and replaces interim chief executive Ruth Davison.

Patel is head of insights and innovation at Blue State, overseeing digital and fundraising initiatives and brand updates for charities including Oxfam, Amnesty International, as well as Google.

“He brings a wealth of creative film and storytelling experience, and is a strong advocate of equity, diversity and inclusion,” said Comic Relief.

Davison will continue to lead the charity ahead of Patel joining. This includes leading the charity’s flagship campaign, Red Nose Day, which takes place on 19 March.

Comic Relief Chair, Eric Salama, said: “The world needs Comic Relief more than ever before. To be able to achieve our goals, alongside our relationship with our partners and the BBC, we need to become digital in everything we do – from the content we create, to the way we engage with the UK public and the way we partner with organisations we fund.

“We also need to continue our growth and development to remain a brand our staff and our partners are proud to be associated with.

“Samir has impressed us with what he has achieved, the way he conducts himself and his vision for Comic Relief. I’m delighted that Samir is joining us to help deliver even greater impact and success. At the same time I would like to pay tribute to Ruth Davison for the way that she has led the organisation through a tumultuous year and for her major achievements with Sport Relief and The Big Night In and I wish her every success in her future.”

Patel added: “Like many, I’ve experienced the magic of Comic Relief first hand through its unique events and shows. It's an honour to join the talented and passionate team there. This brilliant charity inhabits a special place in the UK's consciousnesses and is truly a unique, powerful force, using humour and entertainment for good.

“Digital innovation, strategy and storytelling are all part of my DNA and I look forward to learning and evolving with the organisation to elevate the charity’s vital work to even greater heights.”

Last year the charity announced redundancy plans due to the financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

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