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Stuart Etherington to step down later this year

Stuart Etherington is to step down as chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the charity representative body announced today. Sir Stuart will retire later this year after 25 years in the role.

Recruitment for Sir Stuart’s successor has begun, with an open application process launching today.

NCVO’s membership has grown from just 400 when Sir Stuart took up his post in 1994 to over 14,000 today. Sir Stuart was knighted in 2010 for services to the voluntary sector

Sir Stuart described the last 25 years as a time of phenomenal change for the sector. NCVO said that it was looking for a successor who could lead NCVO and support the sector into an equally challenging and exciting future ahead.

Commenting, Sir Stuart said:

'It has been a huge privilege to work alongside the incredible people and organisations that make up our sector.

'I would strongly encourage anyone to consider applying for this job. The pace of change in the sector has been phenomenal over the last twenty-five years, and this is a trend I am sure will continue, making this an immensely exciting and rewarding role.

'You will have the privilege of leading a high-performing organisation full of talented staff providing practical support to thousands of members, while also playing a crucial role in shaping a wider policy environment that enables charities and volunteering to thrive.'

Peter Kellner, chair of NCVO, said:

'Stuart has made a truly invaluable contribution to NCVO and the sector over his time as chief executive. He has guided NCVO from strength to strength during even the most challenging times. It has been a pleasure to work alongside him for the last two years. 

'One of Stuart’s great skills has been in adapting NCVO to meet new challenges. As the sector itself continues to change, we are seeking someone who can continue to bring fresh ideas alongside sharp strategic thinking.

'The interview panel will also be looking for someone with an unimpeachable track record of standing up for integrity and transparency, and a clear commitment to valuing and nurturing difference and diversity.'

Application process

The deadline for applications is Friday 15 March 2019. An appointment is expected to be made in the summer. The process is being managed by the executive search agency Green Park.

The interview panel will consist of: Peter Kellner, chair of NCVO, Paul Breckell, treasurer of NCVO, Tiger de Souza, trustee of NCVO, Julia Cleverdon, chair of the NCVO human resources and remuneration committee, and Julia Unwin, chair of the Independent Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society. Their recommendation will then be subject to final approval by NCVO’s trustee board.

More information is available at:


In line with NCVO’s policy of executive pay transparency, the post has been advertised at a specified salary, as all NCVO roles are. The 2018/19 salary for the chief executive role is £141,400. Senior management team pay is determined by NCVO’s human resources and remuneration committee. They aim to benchmark the chief executive and directors’ salaries around the 25th centile (ie the lower end) of larger national charities' pay levels, with a 7.5% tolerance.

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