War Child recruits new CEO to maximise growth

War Child was established in 1993 as a response to the brutal effects of conflict on children during the Balkans war. The charity now works in Iraq, Afghanistan, Uganda, Central African Republic, Northern Lebanon (for Syrian refugee children) and the Democratic Republic of Congo. War Child’s vision is of a world where children’s lives are no longer torn apart by war.

The Challenge

In June 2011 it was announced that its CEO of seven years would be leaving in October to take up the role of CEO at Hope and Homes for Children. It was the task of Tom Davis, Chair of the board to recruit a new permanent CEO.

The charity formed a sub-committee to focus on the task, rather than involve the whole board given the amount of work and time involved. After looking at various recruitment options, the committee decided to engage a recruitment company to help. During this time Mr Davis met with Ian Joseph, Managing Director of Charities and Not-for-profit at Russam GMS and invited the company to bid.

War Child chose Russam GMS because of its broad and deep experience in the charity sector and because the company’s professional approach and hard work prior to the bid set it apart from other agencies.

Solving the Challenge

Ian Joseph and Olga Johnson of Russam undertook a comprehensive brief and consulted not only with the senior management team but organised for children in the areas in which War Child works to feed into the process their questions for candidates and to hear their thoughts about the new appointment. Once this briefing had been concluded Ian and Olga created a full job brief including key objectives and a detailed person specification. An initial list of over 100 potential candidates was drawn up, including a Nobel Peace Prize Co Laureate.

After interviewing 12 people at the preliminary stage, five candidates were invited for a final interview, with these last stages being fully managed by Russam who ensured that the board was fully briefed about each candidate. Russam also provided guidance to the board during the final interviews, offering opinions where necessary but without trying to sway the decision making in any way.

Tom Davis commented: “Russam GMS handled the full recruitment process with integrity and professionalism. They presented us with a choice of extremely high calibre candidates who had many of the qualities we were looking for, and ultimately we found a fantastic CEO.”

Tim Wilson, Chair of the Recruitment Committee added, “Ian Joseph gave outstanding support to War Child during our search for a new CEO. Throughout the process, his communications were exceptionally clear and he was consistently reliable. He took great care to understand our needs, and what we were looking to achieve in the years ahead.”

Ian Joseph comments: “It was a privilege to work with such a well-known and pioneering organisation as War Child at a crucial time in its growth. The team at War Child were very easy to work with and really did their best to make sure we fully understood their requirements as well as their vision and goals. This meant we were able to find the right CEO to lead their growth plans.”

Rob Williams has now been in the role almost a year. He was selected because of his extensive charity experience with children, including being CEO of three UK based charities (BLISS, Office of the Children’s Commissioner and the Fatherhood Institute), as well as his hands on experience in the field working in places such as Rwanda and Cambodia as a Country Director for Concern Worldwide.

Contact us

Call us on 07930 356305 or email HQ@russam.co.uk

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