22 January 2016 – Michael Penrose has been appointed as the future Executive Director of Unicef UK, taking over from David Bull, who will retire later this year.  

Michael is currently Chief Executive of international NGO Action Contre Le Faim (ACF) (Action Against Hunger), based in Paris. He steps into the new role in May ahead of David’s retirement the following month. 

Previously Michael has worked as Humanitarian Director at Save the Children International, at The Department for International Development (DFID), at Oxfam, and as a consultant to several UN agencies. 

During his time with ACF Michael oversaw considerable organisational reform, around 70% growth in programme income and impact, the opening of several new country programmes and the development of a new 5 year organisational strategy. 

Michael Penrose said: “I’m thrilled to be joining Unicef UK and am honoured to be taking over from David Bull whose work has had an enormous impact on some of the world’s most disadvantaged children. At a time when so many children’s lives are being torn apart by war, poverty, disease, and hunger, the work of Unicef has never been so important and I can’t wait to begin doing my part.” 

Ilse Howling, Chairman of the Unicef UK, said: “I’m delighted we are appointing a humanitarian leader who has such an outstanding track record of delivering growth in action, influence and income to protect the most disadvantaged. We are dedicated to working for every child in danger, many of them in the world’s poorest countries. Mike brings a wealth of excellent experience and a passion for children’s rights which make him the perfect choice for the role. 

“I would like to pay tribute to David Bull’s leadership which has transformed Unicef UK to become the country’s leading child rights charity. His dedication and energy on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable children has been extraordinary. In appointing Mike, I’m confident that we are welcoming a values driven leader who has the commitment and passion to lead our outstanding team into the charity’s next chapter of success for children around the world at a time when they face ever graver and unprecedented dangers.”

David Bull said: “While I shall be sad to complete my time as Unicef UK’s Executive Director I have the utmost confidence that Michael will do an incredible job driving forward the work of the organisation, helping children in danger around the world. 

“It has been a privilege to work with such a dedicated and passionate group of people whilst at Unicef.”

David’s contribution to international development and human and children’s rights has spanned more than three decades. During his time at Unicef UK, his list of achievements include driving forward the organisation’s work to highlight the impacts of HIV/AIDS and climate change on the world’s children, leading the introduction of the Rights Respecting Schools award in the UK and initiating many partnerships in the worlds of business and sport. In June 2015, he was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his humanitarian services.  


Note to Editors:

For further information about Unicef please contact the Unicef UK Press Office on +44 (0)20 7375 6030 or media@unicef.org.uk

About Unicef Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.  

Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children.  As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK. For more information please visit unicef.org.uk