11 January 2019 - Global

Helle Thorning-Schmidt steps down from role as Save the Children International's CEO

LONDON -- January 11, 2019  The Board of Trustees of Save the Children International announced today that CEO Helle Thorning-Schmidt has decided to step down from her position. She will continue in her role during the coming months as the Board initiates a formal search for her successor. 

“Helle leaves us having made significant and lasting contributions to Save the Children International. Lending her talent and voice to the millions of vulnerable children we serve, her impact will continue to be felt for years to come. We are grateful for her service and wish her well in the next chapter of her career,” said Ms. Pernille Lopez, Chair of the Save the Children International Board of Trustees.

“It has been an honour to lead this great organisation and work with colleagues so dedicated to making the world a better place for children,” said Ms. Thorning-Schmidt. “I will never forget the children I’ve met and the stories they’ve told me: from the families I met in Yemen, to the Rohingya children who had fled to Bangladesh, and the girls fighting to end child marriage. I am forever inspired by them, and the real difference our work can make.”

Prior to becoming CEO, Ms. Thorning-Schmidt served as Prime Minister of Denmark and leader of the country’s Social Democrat party for a decade. She was the first woman to hold both positions. Long an advocate for those left behind, Ms. Thorning-Schmidt said, “I will continue to fight for the rights of children and the empowerment of women, and want to spend more time on my Non-executive board roles as well as defending and renewing progress, social justice, and democracy in these turbulent times.”

During her time with Save the Children, Ms. Thorning-Schmidt helped to launch Ambition for Children 2030, Save the Children’s 15-year strategic plan for reducing childhood deaths from preventable causes, expanding access to basic education, and curbing violence against children. “She united 28 member organisations around these shared goals, and drove meaningful progress in enhancing the quality of our programmes and campaigns that support them,” said Lopez, adding that, “Helle spearheaded a number of organizational initiatives, helping our organisation evolve and ensuring we remain a leader in everything we do.” 

Reflecting on her decision to leave the organisation, Ms. Thorning-Schmidt stated “I step down from my role with a deep sense of pride in the important work we have done to give children a voice, and become an organisation that is better fit for the future and delivers more impact for children.”

In a statement to staff, Ms. Thorning-Schmidt remarked, “Save the Children will always have a special place in my heart. In a world that is so difficult for so many children, our work to reach the most deprived children is more important than ever.” 

The Board of Trustees will initiate a formal search for Ms. Thorning-Schmidt’s successor within the coming weeks.

For queries please contact: Helena Dollimore +44 7391 408248 / Helena.dollimore@savethechildren.org

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