Our Leadership Team

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Unicef UK employs over 300 people. Most are based in Stratford, London, and others work remotely across the UK.

Below are the details of our Executive Director Mike Penrose and his Executive Team.

To meet our trustees and find out more about Unicef UK is governed and held accountable, visit our Accountability and Governance page.

Mike Penrose

Mike Penrose took over as Executive Director of Unicef UK in May 2016. Prior to this, he was CEO of Action Contre La Faim in Paris, and Humanitarian Director at Save the Children International. He has 24 years’ experience working in aid and development as well as risk, crisis and disaster management in more than 60 countries.

Mike has extensive experience of crisis and emergency response, including deployments as Head of Operations for the UN WHO in Banda Aceh for the Tsunami response; Crisis Management Advisor for the Torino Winter Olympics; DFID Humanitarian Advisor in numerous emergencies, including Iraq 2003 and the Pakistan earthquake in 2005; and as the Evacuation Team Leader for the inter-governmental civilian evacuations of Lebanon 2006, Guinea 2007 and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2007. Mike has also advised many large commercial organisations on how to operate effectively and ethically in fragile environments.

Mike Flynn

Mike Flynn is our Deputy Executive Director responsible for raising income through public engagement channels. Mike has a wealth of experience in the voluntary sector where he has provided strategic leadership and delivered major income-generating campaigns, including at the NSPCC, Marie Curie Cancer Care and Cancer Research UK.

Mike is a qualified Mindfulness-Based Awareness Coach which he practices in his spare time.

Sarah Ward

As Deputy Executive Director, Partnerships Sarah leads the strategic development of the corporate partnerships, foundations and philanthropy teams to significantly grow income and impact.

Sarah was previously Head of Future Fund at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London where she developed the museum’s endowment fund.  She has over 20 years’ experience in the non-profit and public sectors, in social welfare, health, arts and culture, with a particular interest in philanthropy and partnerships.

Sophie Gallois

Sophie Gallois is our Deputy Executive Director responsible for Communication, Ambassadors, Government Advocacy and Programs. Unicef UK is a big change from her previous corporate career as Global Marketing Director for Chivas Brothers and MD for the Gin Hub, where she managed international brands such as Beefeater, Chivas Regal, the Glenlivet.

Sophie has lived in the UK since 1991, with postings in France and Spain.

Claire Fox

Claire Fox is our Chief Operating Officer responsible for the People, Strategy and Information teams. Claire is also a key point of contact on governance matters. Prior to Unicef UK, Claire worked at Save the Children International and Unilever delivering in global, local and regional Director roles.

Claire is the Vice Chair of the Board, and Chair of the Safeguarding Committee, at her local school and is the author of the book Work-Life Symbiosis: The Model for Happiness and Balance.

David Bletso

David Bletso is our interim Chief Financial Officer responsible for the financial and commercial aspects of Unicef UK. He is a key liaison with our Treasurer.

Vice Presidents

Unicef UK is grateful to each and every individual that volunteers their time to advise, support and further our work.

Among these are our Vice Presidents, a select group of well-respected leaders who have an interest in using their expertise and networks in support of children’s rights. Vice Presidents take on this role in their individual capacities, as volunteers, and do not have formal or legal governance responsibility for the organisation.

Unicef UK’s Vice Presidents are:

Marc Bolland is Head of European Portfolio Operations of private equity businesses at Blackstone. He was previously Chief Executive of M&S and has been involved with Unicef UK since 2010, by volunteering his time to our London and Copenhagen offices during a sabbatical, and by acting as a Vice-President.

Tim Clark OBE is Managing Director of ie:music, managing Robbie Williams and many other artists, and has been involved with Unicef UK since 1988. He has been a Vice-President since 2002 and was instrumental in helping to develop Soccer Aid for Unicef. He received an OBE in recognition of his services to Unicef in 2009.

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick CBE became a Vice-President in 2011. He is KPMG’s Global Head of Citizenship and Diversity, a non-executive director of British Telecom and a Trustee of the Vodafone Group Foundation. In January 2003, Michael was awarded a CBE in recognition of his services to crime reduction, and in 2005 was awarded the honour of an independent peerage to the House of Lords .

Mark Makepeace is Chief Executive and founder of FTSE Group. He became a Vice-President in 2011 and has been a long-time supporter of Unicef, being awarded an Honorary Fellowship in recognition of innovative charity work by Unicef UK in 2002.

Dame Carolyn McCall joined ITV as Chief Executive in January 2018. Prior to joining ITV, Carolyn was Chief Executive at easyJet, a Unicef corporate partner which has raised more than £8 million since 2012. She is also a non-executive director of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and of Burberry Plc. In 2016 she was awarded a Damehood for services to aviation and became a Vice-President of Unicef UK in February 2017.

Lord Jack McConnell was First Minister of Scotland from 2001 to 2007 and UK Special Representative for Peacebuilding 2008-2010. He is currently an international consultant, guest lecturer and a Professorial Fellow at the University of Stirling. He became a Vice-President for Unicef UK in 2015.