Unicef appoints new chief executive

Unicef has appointed Sacha Deshmukh as its new permanent chief executive.

The announcement comes after former Unicef UK chief executive Mike Penrose announced his intentions to step down from the charity after three and a half years to pursue ‘personal projects’.

Penrose made the announcement in August last year and Nick Roseveare has been interim CEO since his departure.

Deshmukh joins the firm from Smart Energy GB, where he has been CEO since 2013. He has also, since 2014, served as chair of international aid and development charity War Child UK.

Prior to establishing Smart Energy GB, Deshmukh was executive director (strategy) of the UK Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman.

Before this he had a career in marketing and communications for over a decade, including as senior partner in global advertising and marketing group, the Engine Group.

He started his career in advocacy and campaigning, including in the early 2000s as director of Campaigns at equality charity Stonewall.

Deshmukh’s non-executive board experience includes five years as a non-executive director and then deputy chair of Citizens Advice England & Wales. He was also a non-executive director of Consumer Focus.

In 2013, he was a member of the inquiry panel of the NCVO inquiry into executive pay in the voluntary sector and is currently a non-executive director of the Fundraising Regulator.

Unicef chair, Douglas Alexander said: “Sacha has an impressive record of achievement in the public, private and non-profit sectors, and we have been excited by his successful executive leadership in complex organisations, and by his deep experience in advocacy, campaigning, marketing, and children’s rights. Under his leadership, Smart Energy GB has grown to become the country’s largest public interest consumer engagement campaign.

"The Board and I are looking forward immensely to working with Sacha to build an ever stronger, more impactful Unicef UK together.”

Deshmukh added: “After many years of admiring Unicef UK, it is an amazing privilege to be joining its team and become a part of the Unicef family.”

Sacha will step down as chief executive of Smart Energy GB on 31 March 2020, and his second and final term as chair of War Child UK will end in June 2020. His role at Unicef UK will start in April 2020.

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