STATEMENT: April 19
Sir Alan Parker has today informed the Boards of the Save the Children Association and Save the Children International that he will step down as Chair and resign from the Boards. After 10 years with Save the Children his term is due to end in December this year, and he felt it right at this moment to bring forward his succession.
Pernille Lopez, speaking on behalf of the SCA/SCI Board said: “We would like to thank Alan for his immense contribution to Save the Children over the past ten years. Under his leadership, we have grown and modernised our organisation, and are now better able to support children living in terrible situations around the world. His vision and commitment will be missed.”
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International said “I would like to thank Alan for the decade of service he has given to Save the Children. We are deeply grateful for the time and dedication he has invested in our important cause. On a personal note, I have enjoyed working with Alan and we have benefited hugely from his extensive knowledge and energy. As a trustee and now as Chair, Alan has worked tirelessly to help us grow to an organisation that works in over 120 countries to reach 50 million children every year. Building on this strong foundation, we will continue to fight for a world where every last child can survive, learn and be protected.”
Sir Alan today sent the following letter to his Save the Children Colleagues:
Today I am announcing my resignation from the boards of the Save the Children Association and Save the Children International. Given the complex mix of challenges the organisation and the sector is facing, it is my view that a change is needed. I have therefore taken the decision to step down as Chair and will do everything I can to support a smooth succession.
In the ten years that I have worked in the Save the Children movement, it has been a tremendous privilege and honour to work with people as outstanding as any you could wish to meet. It is testament to their passion and commitment that, in that time, Save the Children has helped more children than at any time in our history.
While I was Chair of Save the Children UK, the team doubled the number of children we reached, which is ultimately our mission. We were able to more than double our revenues. But even more significantly, we lifted our ability to deliver demonstrable impact in some of the most harrowing circumstances in the world, from the Ebola epidemic to the crises in Somalia, Ethiopia and, of course, the largest of all, Syria.
Globally, we have built a significantly more powerful and modern movement by creating the Save the Children Association and our International programmes organisation, SCI. This has brought our 28 member organisations around the world much closer together, enabling us to deliver more for the most vulnerable children and families we serve, and making every penny work harder for our donors.
In Save the Children UK we dealt with some unacceptable workplace behaviour, involving harassment, in our head office in Farringdon in 2012 and 2015. The process around Brendan Cox involved a disciplinary panel, including Trustees and an independent QC. The processes around Justin Forsyth were handled by HR and senior Trustees, and were reviewed by an independent law firm. These issues are now subject to further review by the Charity Commission. This is an important review and I will work with them to assist in any way I can.
This is an extraordinary time for the sector. With major ongoing conflicts and more displaced children than at any time in history, it is clear that children around the world need the full power of organisations like ours. Save the Children has been working hard to step up to the scale of the task we face. Meanwhile, in the current environment, there is an urgent and pressing need to rebuild trust and confidence. If we do not, some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children will suffer.
Everyone involved with this organisation gets up in the morning with a passion to save the children: our mission has never been more important. With the horrors we see unfolding around the world, it is easy to lose sight of the impact and progress that has been made. Child mortality and extreme poverty has halved over the past thirty years, and development organisations and charities have a real role to play in keeping up this momentum. So we can take courage from the fact that we have proven capabilities in today’s world, to make transformational change for children in ways that were never possible before.
Save the Children has been fighting for children’s rights for almost exactly one hundred years, and I know it always will. I will certainly continue to stand up for that cause in any way I can.
Yours as ever,