Humanist Society Scotland lose public affairs boss to global organisation

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​Gary McLelland has been appointed as chief executive of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU)

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16th December 2016 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

Gary McLelland, the current head of communications and public affairs at the Humanist Society Scotland (HSS), has been appointed as chief executive of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU).

McLelland, who is also a director of the European Humanist Federation, will take up his new position at the global representative body of the humanist movement in February.

First appointed as education policy officer at the HSS in October 2013, he rose through the ranks to his current position in August 2015.

He has a background in international development, and has worked for a global leadership training programme based in the Mercy Corps European headquarters.

McLelland has also previously delivered project work in Kenya and Malawi, and has policy development and service delivery experience in the UK public sector.

HSS chief executive Gordon MacRae said he was sad to see McLelland go but was delighted that his “obvious talents” as an ambassador for humanism will be put to use on the global stage.

"During his time at HSS, Gary has transformed the influence and profile of humanism in Scotland,” he added.

“He has demonstrated a great deftness for making humanism part of the mainstream national conversation. If he can achieve even only a small amount of the change he delivered for HSS then we can look forward to an exciting future for IHEU."

Of his new appointment, McLelland said it was a “fantastic honour”.

He continued: "In recent years we've seen an increase in targeted attacks against non-religious communities around the world, the need for a strong coordinated voice for humanist, atheist, and other non-religious groups, has never been more pressing.

"It has been a pleasure to work alongside so many dedicated colleagues and friends in Scotland, and I look forward to working with my new team in London."

McLelland will be replacing current IHEU chief executive, Carl Blackburn, who will remain in his post until the handover.

Of McLelland, IHEU president Andrew Copson said: “He is an experienced manager and dynamic leader who has led organisations and supported them to grow and develop.”