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Peter Kellner set to be new chair of NCVO

The renowned journalist and political commentator Peter Kellner is set to become the new chair of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the representative body for charities, community groups and volunteering, it was announced today.

Mr Kellner succeeds Martyn Lewis, who has served as chair of NCVO for the last six years.

His appointment follows a competitive process led by NCVO’s president, Tanni Grey-Thompson.

The appointment, for a three-year term, is subject to ratification at NCVO’s annual general meeting in November.

Commenting, Baroness Grey-Thompson said:

Peter was a stand-out candidate even in a strong field and we are thrilled that he has volunteered for this role. His experience in chairing the boards of high-profile organisations combined with his expertise in politics and the media make him ideally positioned to lead NCVO in what is bound to be an uncertain political environment.

Peter Kellner said:

I am excited to succeed Sir Martyn and to join Stuart Etherington and his team at this challenging time for the voluntary sector. My aim is to support the continuing quest of the sector to be dynamic, innovative and professional, as well as caring, public-spirited and well-respected – and then to help tell that story persuasively to the outside world. In an era when family budgets are tight, and government finances face relentless pressure, that task – and NCVO's role – is more vital than ever.

Sir Martyn said:

I am absolutely delighted to be handing the chair's baton over to Peter in November.

He has a truly vast range of experience that embraces the business, media and political worlds as well as the voluntary sector, and this will be invaluable to help steer the NCVO ship through the unpredictable waters ahead.

I have greatly enjoyed the challenges and changes during my six years as chair, and I know that Peter will greatly enjoy working with Sir Stuart and his hugely talented team.

NCVO board

One other three-year term of office on NCVO’s board falls vacant at this year’s AGM. The position is open to nominations from today. Candidates must be nominated by an NCVO member organisation by Wednesday 24 August.


About NCVO

Founded in 1919, NCVO champions the voluntary sector and volunteering. With over 12,000 members, we connect, represent and support voluntary organisations, from the smallest community groups to the largest household-name charities.

Peter Kellner

Peter Kellner’s career in journalism included roles at The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Observer and the BBC. He was chair of the online polling company YouGov from 2001 to 2007, and then served as its president until he stepped down earlier this year. He was given the chairman of the year award by the Quoted Companies Alliance in 2006, and received a special recognition award from the Political Studies Association in 2011. He chaired the board of the Royal Commonwealth Society from 2009 to 2013.

Appointment process and AGM

The chair-designate is formally ratified and takes over as chair at NCVO’s AGM on 21 November.

Following a search process, a panel led by NCVO president Baroness Grey-Thompson with NCVO trustees Matt Hyde, chief executive of the Scout Association, and Chris Freed, head of volunteering at Citizens Advice, interviewed candidates and presented a recommendation to the full board last month, which they accepted.

The chair may serve a maximum of two three-year terms of office.

One other three-year NCVO board position falls vacant at the time of the AGM and is open for nominations now. Candidates must be nominated by an NCVO member organisation. Read more.

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