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Employees at Unicef UK

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

Executive Director

Mike Penrose started as Executive Director of Unicef UK in May 2016. He was previously CEO of Action Contre Le Faim in Paris, and Global Humanitarian Director at Save the Children International. He is a senior leader with a track record in the commercial, humanitarian, development and international sectors, and over 17 years experience working for NGOs and DFID.

Mike’s experience of crisis and emergency response is extensive and has included consultant deployments as Head of Operations for the UN WHO in Banda Aceh for the Tsunami response, DFID Operations Advisor for the Pakistan earthquake in 2005 and the Evacuation Team Leader for the inter-governmental civilian evacuations of Lebanon in 2006, Guinea in 2007, and DR Congo also in 2007.

Mike currently lives between London and Paris 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.


Kirsty Young is the presenter of Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4 and has worked as a broadcaster for over 25 years. Her work has been wide-ranging, including stints on Crimewatch, Have I Got News For You, and recently fronting the BBC’s commemoration of VE and VJ Day. Kirsty lives in Oxfordshire with her husband and two daughters. The President role is a voluntary position.


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.

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.

Ilse Howling (Chair) has been Chair of the Unicef UK Board since 2014, previously having been on the Board as a Trustee since 2009. She was most recently Managing Director of Freeview Play at Digital UK. Prior to this she was Managing Director of Freeview, the UK’s leading digital TV provider, following roles at the BBC where she led the corporation’s digital marketing.

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.

Robert L. Scott (Vice-Chair) is the former SVP and general Counsel of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. He pioneered Starwood’s Check Out for Children charitable fundraising programme which has raised more than $35 million towards Unicef’s work. Robert was elected to the Board of Trustees of Unicef UK in 2008

Professor Martin Woodhead (Vice-Chair) is Emeritus Professor of Childhood Studies at The Open University where he played a major role in establishing the interdisciplinary field of childhood and youth studies.  His research has focussed on early childhood education and care, including policy studies, extensive international work and numerous publications. He was elected to the Board of Trustees of Unicef UK in 2012

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.

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.

Steven Day has enjoyed over 25 years’ experience in journalism, communications and brand marketing and is a partner in Sulis Ventures, a firm which develops, launches and advises consumer-orientated companies. Most recently prior to this, Steven was Chief of Brand & Communications of Orange where he created and launched the company’s new digital brand, EE, in 2012. It was during his time at Orange and EE that Steven became a supporter of Unicef, and helped raise several million pounds through various text-message appeals for the emergency relief work of the charity during several global crises. Steven was elected to the Board of Trustees of Unicef UK in 2014.

Baroness Anne Jenkin became a peer in 2011 in recognition of her charity work. She is the chairwoman of both the Conservative Friends of International Development and the Sustainable Resource APPG. She is founder and co-chairwoman of Women2Win, an organisation which aims to encourage more women to become Conservative MPs. Baroness Jenkin has worked for the Prince’s Trust in the past and represents the Albert Hall on certain matters. She was elected to the Board of Trustees of Unicef UK in 2013.

Cosette Reczek has held a variety of leadership roles, operating 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 other 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.

Professor Mary Renfrew is Professor of Mother and Infant Health in the University of Dundee, where she is Director of the Mother and Infant Research Unit (MIRU), Director of the Scottish Improvement Science Collaborating Centre, and Associate Dean for Research.  In addition to her extensive academic journal publications, she has written widely about midwifery, infant feeding and maternity care, and is author and editor of books for academic, professional and lay audiences. She was elected to the Board of Trustees of Unicef UK in 2011.

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 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.

Baroness Bryony Worthington is the Executive Director of Environmental Defence Fund in Europe, and a member of the House of Lords. An experienced climate campaigner who has worked for Friends of the Earth, Wildlife and Countryside Link, in government, and in the energy sector for SSE, Bryony was a key member of the team that campaigned for, and drafted, the UK’s world-leading Climate Change Act. Bryony is also the founder of Sandbag, an NGO focused on research & campaigning for effective carbon markets, and a patron of the Alvin Weinberg Foundation, advocating next-generation nuclear power. Bryony was elected to the Board of Trustees of Unicef UK in 2015.

Youth Advisors to the Board of Trustees

Unicef UK’s Youth Advisors work with our Trustees to provide a young person’s perspective on the way Unicef UK works, contributing to discussions and decisions about our vision as a charity, our mission, and our strategic aims. The Youth Advisor roles are voluntary positions.

Thrinayani Ramakrishnan, 18, joined the Board of Trustees in October 2015. Thrinayani has always been passionate about children’s rights and being able to make a difference for young people. She has worked as a member of Amplify, a group that advises the Children’s Commissioner for England on children’s rights. In 2013 Thrinayani was elected a Member of the UK Youth Parliament, following months of campaigning in schools and youth clubs. In November 2014 she also had the opportunity to speak in the Chamber of the House of Commons during a televised UK Youth Parliament debate. Thrinayani currently studies Mathematics with Actuarial Science at the University of Southampton.

Isobel Trout, 18, joined the Board of Trustees in October 2014. Isobel has a keen interest in youth politics, having been elected to the Bristol City Youth Council in February 2013, and subsequently elected as one Bristol’s first two Youth Mayors for 2013-2014. Within this role, Isobel supported many local events and campaigns, working with the Bristol Mayor George Ferguson. Isobel has a huge passion for youth participation and promoting meaningful youth involvement in politics. She is also a deputy member of the UK Youth Parliament, and has campaigned for voting to begin at 16. Isobel currently studies Medicine at the University of Birmingham.

Thrinayani Ramakrishnan and Isobel Trout, Youth Advisors at Unicef UK.