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Employees at Unicef UK

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

Executive Director

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.

He currently lives in London with his wife and young son.

Mike Penrose started as Executive Director of Unicef UK in May 2016.

Mike Penrose started as Executive Director of Unicef UK in May 2016.


The Vice-President roles are voluntary positions.

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.

Our Trustees

Unicef UK is a charitable company governed by a Board of Trustees. The Board meets regularly to discuss governance issues, such as the charity’s vision, mission and strategic direction. Our annual Trustees’ Report details Unicef’s UK’s work for the last financial year. Constitutional information is included in the Memorandum & Articles of Association. Our Conflict of Interest Policy for Trustees is available as recommended by the Charity Commission. The Trustee roles are voluntary positions.

The Right Honourable Douglas Alexander (Chair) served for eighteen years in the UK Parliament and nine years in Government under Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. As well as serving as the UK Governor to the World Bank he held various cabinet positions including Secretary of State at DFID. Douglas is now a Senior Fellow at Harvard University, a Visiting Professor at Kings College London, and a Trustee for the Royal United Services Institute. He was voted onto the Unicef UK Board of Trustees as Chair in June 2018.

Sir Tony Redmond (Treasurer) brings a wealth of experience in financial stewardship and administration to the Board. Until November 2010 he held posts of Chief Executive for some twenty three years in a range of organisations, most recently as Chairman and Chief Executive of Commission for Local Administration in England as well as Local Government Ombudsman. He was elected to the Board of Trustees of Unicef UK in 2011.

Baroness Sal Brinton has been a Liberal Democrat peer since 2010, with a special interest in education, skills and learning, following 20 years working in the education sector. Before joining the House of Lords, she was the Director of the Association of the Universities in the East of England. Previously, she was on the Board of the East of England Development Agency (1998-2004) and Chair of the Cambridgeshire Learning and Skills Council (1999-2005). She was elected to the Board of Trustees of Unicef UK in 2013.

Alex Connock, a digital entrepreneur and academic, is Managing Director of digital video company Missile, having previously been MD of Endemol Shine North and Ten Alps, co-founded with Bob Geldof. He tutors creative entrepreneurship at the National Film and Television School, entrepreneur-in-residence at European business school INSEAD, and visiting professor in digital media at Salford, Sunderland and Manchester Metropolitan universities. He is also on the board of the Halle Orchestra.

Margaret Cund was Head of DFID’s 2005 Unit preparing for the UK’s presidency of the G8 Summit and European Union in that year, with action on Africa and climate change as the key objectives. Previously, she was Head of Department responsible for the International Financial Institutions (the World Bank and Regional Development Banks, and working closely with HM Treasury on the IMF). Margaret was elected to the Board of Trustees of Unicef UK in 2013.

Sarah Davis (Vice Chair) has been Group Commercial Legal Director at the Guardian Media Group where she worked since originally joining the newspaper’s digital division, Guardian Unlimited, in 2000. She was previously in-house lawyer at NDS and a solicitor at Stephens Innocent. Sarah has extensive non-executive experience gained through three organisations: Poet in the City (where she is chair); Media Trust (trustee),  and European Newspapers Association (Chair of copyright working group).

Steven Day has over 25 years’ experience in journalism, communications and brand marketing, and is co-founding partner of Pure Planet, a renewable energy supplier. Prior to this Steven was Chief of Brand & Communications at EE, where he created and launched the company’s digital brand in 2012 following the merger of Orange and T-Mobile. It was during this time that Steven became a supporter of Unicef, helping to raise millions of pounds through text message appeals during global emergencies. Steven was elected to the Board of Trustees of Unicef UK in 2014.

Cosette Reczek (Chair, Audit Committee) has held a variety of leadership roles at the executive level in the UK’s largest banks. The focus of her most recent work includes governance, delegation of authority, organisation design, and transformation. She recently founded her own consulting firm to advise and support others pursuing such efforts. Cosette is the Chair of the Audit Committee for Unicef UK and was co-opted to the Board of Trustees in September 2016.

Surinder Sharma took up his post as the first National Director for Equality & Human Rights at the Department of Health in October 2004. He has worked in the Diversity field for over 30 years, gaining a reputation for success and excellence along the way and has been a Councillor at Leicester City Council, where he Chaired Housing Committee, was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1983 and now Chairs the Leicester Race Equality Council. Surinder was elected to the Board of Trustees of Unicef UK in 2013.

Caroline Underwood OBE is an expert in fundraising and philanthropy, with particular experience in the academic, international development, arts and culture sectors, and in working with individual philanthropists. Her career has focused on maximising private sector fundraising and organisational change to drive income growth. She is currently CEO for the Philanthropy Company, a small agency working with not-for-profits and philanthropists. Her clients include government bodies, high-profile foundations, charities and universities. Caroline was elected to the Board of Trustees of Unicef UK in 2016.