Save the Children appoints former Danish prime minister

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Helle Thorning-Schmidt (left) pictured with German chancellor Angela Merkel

Helle Thorning-Schmidt will be the new chief executive from April

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14th January 2016 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

Save the Children International has announced former Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt is to be its new chief executive.

Thorning-Schmidt, who was Denmark’s first female prime minister and leader of the Social Democrats, replaces Jasmine Whitbread as head of the umbrella organisation for the Save the Children movement.

She will take up her position on 4 April, and will be based at Save the Children International’s headquarters in London.

I couldn’t imagine a better cause and I look forward to meeting and working with our dedicated staff around the world

Of her appointment Sir Alan Parker, chairman of Save the Children International, said: “We are very pleased to appoint a new CEO with a proven track record of international leadership and a passion to improve the world for children.

“The Save the Children organisations around the world are working together to try to transform the future for the most vulnerable children, and Helle’s experience and capabilities will be a great asset as we look to deliver on this ambition.”

Thorning-Schmidt, who served as prime minister of Denmark from 2011 to 2015, said: "Children’s protection, rights and development have always been close to my heart, and I look forward to doing everything I can to help us deliver on our bold but simple ambitions: that no child under five dies from preventable causes, all children get access to quality education and that no child should live with violence and abuse.

“Save the Children has been at the forefront of fighting for children's rights since its foundation and I am delighted to follow in that tradition by building on Jasmine’s fine work. I couldn’t imagine a better cause and I look forward to meeting and working with our dedicated staff around the world.”

Thorning-Schmidt became an internet sensation after a picture of her taking a selfie with US president Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron during a memorial event for Nelson Mandela was shared throughout the world.

Meanwhile, Tanya Steele has been appointed interim chief executive of Save the Children UK.

Steele, who was previously the charity’s executive director of marketing, fundraising and communications, will take over from Justin Forsyth, who announced his resignation in October.