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UNICEF UK Chief Executive leaving to join learning disability charity

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UNICEF UK Chief Executive leaving to join learning disability charity

UNICEF UK Chief Executive leaving to join learning disability charity

16 January 2024 – UNICEF UK announces that Jon Sparkes OBE will be leaving in the summer to take on a new role as Chief Executive of Mencap.

Since joining UNICEF UK as Chief Executive in January 2022, Jon has led the organisation to raise record breaking income for children around the world, overseen the launch of the Early Moments Matter campaign in the UK, as well as developing the organisation’s new four-year strategy and championing the organisation’s efforts to put inclusion at the heart of its culture and work for children.

Jon previously worked at UNICEF UK from 2011 to 2014 as Chief Operating Officer, and was previously Chief Executive for Crisis and at Scope. Jon will remain in post before taking up the role at Mencap in June 2024.

Jon Sparkes OBE, said: “It has been a privilege to return to and lead UNICEF UK over the past couple of years.

“I’m incredibly proud of the way UNICEF UK has evolved in recent years and the work that’s been done to raise record income, deliver outstanding advocacy and impactful programming, all of which is having a real and lasting change to the lives of children in the UK and around the world.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to the organisation’s dedicated and talented staff, and our generous supporters and partners, without whom we could not continue to support UNICEF’s vital work for the world’s children.”

Shatish Dasani, Chair of the Board of Trustees at UNICEF UK said: “I would like to thank Jon for his leadership, vision and commitment to UNICEF UK and the children it supports over the past two years.

“Under Jon’s guidance, UNICEF UK is implementing an ambitious strategy to achieve maximum results for children, which has been enhanced by his leadership of the talented, diverse and passionate wider team.

“Jon’s focus on values and culture has enabled UNICEF UK to continue to build a better world for every child and helped lay the foundations for further achievement in the years ahead. On behalf of the Trustees, I wish him the best in his next role at Mencap.”

The Board has initiated the search process for a new Chief Executive and will provide a further update in due course.


Notes to editors:

For more information, please contact the UNICEF UK Media Team on 0207 375 6030 or email [email protected].


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

The UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) raises funds for UNICEF’s emergency and development work for children. We also promote and protect children’s rights in the UK and internationally. We are a UK charity, entirely funded by supporters.

United Kingdom Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK), Registered Charity No. 1072612 (England & Wales), SC043677 (Scotland).

For more information visit unicef.org.uk. Follow UNICEF UK on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.