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Ali Henderson named as new CEO


In September 2019,  Ian Davenport decided that after seven years as CEO of Royal SpringBoard (and its predecessor organisation) he wished to step down in May, 2020. After a rigorous process, the Trustees are delighted to announce that they have appointed Ali Henderson as the next Chief Executive. Ali will take on the role with effect from 1st March, 2020 and Ian will be available to support an effective transition until May, 2020. Ian could not be more pleased to be handing on the baton to Ali as his successor. Ian has worked with Ali for the past year and has been impressed by her talent, commitment and experience. She has a genuine and obvious enthusiasm for the Royal SpringBoard mission. Ian has no doubt that she will lead Royal SpringBoard to new heights.

Ali knows Royal SpringBoard and its mission very well, having led the organisation’s focus on impact and learning since late 2018. She has a strong track record of strategic leadership in the public and third sectors. She brings over 15 years’ experience of leading programmes and policies to address social inequality. She started her career at the UK Government Department for International Development (DfID) in programme management roles in Africa, and built on this operational experience with high level policy and influencing work as Private Secretary to Development Ministers and in the Foreign Policy Unit at 10 Downing Street as Private Secretary to the Prime Minister.  Following a secondment to gain strategic local government experience as Head of Policy & Performance at a County Council, she moved into the charity sector where she worked for Oxfam for 5 years in a variety of operational effectiveness, business transformation and strategic planning positions. Since late 2018 she has been leading Royal SpringBoard’s focus on impact and learning.

From Robert Swannell, Chair of Royal National Children’s SpringBoard Foundation:

“We are delighted to announce the appointment of Ali Henderson as the new Chief Executive of Royal National Children’s SpringBoard Foundation (“Royal SpringBoard”) to succeed Ian Davenport. Ali has a deep knowledge of our charity and the space in which we operate, and brings a wealth of experience from strategic leadership roles in the third sector and the public sector. She shares our deep conviction that boarding school bursary places have a profound effect in promoting social mobility. I want to pay tribute to Ian's work these past seven years, first as the founding Chief Executive of SpringBoard and then completing the successful merger with Royal National Children’s Foundation. He has done an outstanding job and the strong position of Royal SpringBoard is in very large part due to his exceptional leadership."

Ali Henderson writes:

“I am delighted to be given the opportunity to lead Royal SpringBoard. The charity’s commitment to ensuring that children – no matter where they started in life – can access the life transforming opportunity of a boarding school education and, in so doing, to make a significant contribution to broader social mobility in the UK is a cause that I am really passionate about. It is a great privilege to have the chance to lead the exceptional team over the coming years to achieve the organisation’s ambitious scaling plans.”



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