Oxfam's CEO, Leadership and Trustees
Oxfam's Leadership Team
Dr Dhananjayan (Danny) Sriskandarajah, CEO
I joined Oxfam GB as Chief Executive in January 2019.
I previously led CIVICUS, the Johannesburg-based alliance of civil society organisations with members in more than 180 countries. Prior to that, I spent four years as Director General of the Royal Commonwealth Society.
I was born in Sri Lanka in the 1970s and was initially raised in a rural community without electricity or running water. My family was displaced by the onset of a brutal civil war and I spent time in Papua New Guinea and Australia, where I went to school and university.
I moved to the UK in 1998 and completed my Masters and Doctorate in international development at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
The contrast between the wealth and opportunity of life in the global north with my early years in rural Sri Lanka has given me a passion to take on the root causes of poverty, and I am committed to Oxfam's long-standing approach to speaking out and taking action against injustice. It feels like a moment in history when we need strong, independent civil society, and I hope that Oxfam’s new strategy will help us play our part in shaping a radically better world.
Oxfam has been close to my heart for many years – starting with raising money for Oxfam Australia as a child. Prior to joining as CEO, I had worked alongside Oxfam colleagues on numerous fronts, from addressing threats to civic space to co-founding the Fight Inequality Alliance.
Alison Court, Chief Transformation Officer
I joined Oxfam GB in January 2020, in what was a new role responsible for driving the implementation of our new strategic vision. From October 2020, my role changed with an increase in responsibility, incorporating the global operations of Oxfam GB and I was appointed Chief Transformation Officer. My purpose remains to facilitate the transformation work needed to achieve the OGB strategy and enable a once-in-a-decade change to the confederation’s global operating model, while delivering OGB’s international operations efficiently, to a high standard and in line with our values and commitments to be safe, feminist and partner-led.
My skills and experience are in designing and delivering complex transformation for organisations. I have held a number of strategic leadership, programme, project and operational roles for the Cabinet Office, Oxford Brookes University and the Open University amongst others. I have mainly worked in the public and not-for-profit sectors, having a deep, long-held belief in the profound impact they have on the lives of the vulnerable and disadvantaged.
I'm delighted to be working with Oxfam colleagues, both in the UK and internationally, who are clearly inspired by the work they do, and I feel very privileged to be a part of this journey.
Jane Cunliffe, Chief Financial Officer
I joined Oxfam GB as Chief Financial Officer in June 2020. I am responsible for overall financial strategy, planning and reporting, governance and our legal team. I was thrilled to join Oxfam and feel a deep personal commitment to its mission of ending poverty and inequality. I am excited to work with colleagues to look at how we transform Oxfam over the next few years.
Before this role, I spent 18 years in the Civil Service, including roles as the Director for Strategic Finance at the Department for Work and Pensions, the Director for Public Spending at HM Treasury and head of school funding policy at the Department for Education. I was also Deputy Principal Private Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister from 2013 to 2015. I began my career in the civil service in the Department for Education in 2002.
I have degrees in History and Public Policy from the University of Sheffield, and Kings College, London, and a professional qualification with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
I am a trustee and non-executive Director at the Howard Partnership Trust, a multi-academy trust based in Surrey. I'm married to Steve, who is a ceramic artist, we have two sons, and a Labrador who keeps us active.
Jan Oldfield, Chief Supporter Officer
Biography to follow.
John Plastow, Chief Impact Officer
In February 2019, I was excited to return to Oxfam to take up the position of International Programmes Director at Oxfam GB, a role in which I led Oxfam GB's contribution to Oxfam's long-term development and humanitarian work. As of October 2020, I took on the new role of Chief Impact Officer, which brings together into one Division our programmatic, learning and influencing functions. We are looking to take forward a bold and inspiring agenda to:
- become an exemplar of a progressive, safe, feminist and northern affiliate of an international confederation in our sector by shifting power and resources to enable others to drive change, only using direct influence where we legitimately add value
- To achieve change, particularly in fragile and conflict-affected contexts and through our focus on valuing women’s work and striving for climate justice. We will do this by enabling world class programmes, campaigns, and influencing; curating evidence, expertise and evaluation services; and brokering powerful partnerships that increase impact.
I have spent my career working as part of international civil society at country, regional and global levels. After two years as a VSO teacher in western Kenya, I worked for a year at Comic Relief before time spent in conflict-affected contexts in northern Iraq and Sri Lanka. Thereafter, I spent a couple of years at ACORD, a pioneering organisation that was one of the first to transfer its global headquarters from the UK to Africa, before time in Sudan and then in Tanzania as Oxfam Ireland's first overseas Country Director.
On returning to the UK, I became CARE International UK's Programme and Policy Director for eight years. Most recently I worked independently, supporting initiatives and organisations to champion local-led humanitarian action. In 2018, I conducted a review of the role of civil society in the response to the Grenfell disaster in the UK.
In addition to having the privilege of being able to do a job to which I am passionately committed, I am the proud dad of two teenage boys who have a strong Anglo-Italian identity.
Tina Proudlock, Chief Operating Officer
I joined Oxfam as People Director in the spring of 2017 and was appointed as Chief Operating Officer (COO) in October 2020. This is a new role for Oxfam GB, which is responsible for drawing together the various specialist areas within the Operations division to provide and support efficient, safe, feminist and anti-racist operations enabling our teams to have greater impact both here in the UK and across the confederation. Along with partnering with the organisation to enable our culture transformation.
I came to Oxfam with a breadth of experience, having run my own marketing business before moving into HR in the business sector. I started my career in HR with Virgin Retail and then spent eight years at Affinion, an international global engagement solutions business. There I developed and delivered an international HR strategy to support a growing, fast-changing and complex matrix business.
I chose HR as a career because I enjoy finding ways to enable people to be the best version of themselves, enhancing their skills and capabilities as teams and individuals. This is still central to my thinking as COO but of course I now have the wider aim of enabling the organisation to be the best version of itself too!
Other key roles
Clifford Isabelle, Global Safeguarding Director
I work with a team of experienced safeguarding colleagues to embed good safeguarding practice within Oxfam GB and across the Oxfam confederation, working closely with Danny and other leadership colleagues.
I am a qualified social worker with experience of child protection and safeguarding with significant experience in local government and law enforcement. Before joining Oxfam in February 2019, I was with the National Crime Agency. I worked there on large-scale safeguarding operations - within the UK and internationally - with a focus on case work, strategic guidance and ensuring there was a multi-agency approach in working with survivors of abuse.
I was really excited to bring my experience, skills and commitment to Oxfam, helping to focus our collective efforts to further improve safeguarding policies, practice and behaviours.
I am privileged to work with experienced safeguarding advisors and focal points across the world, including our retail safeguarding specialists in the UK. Outside of Oxfam my work with external agencies is also crucial and a particular priority is our work with partners and the communities we are here to serve.
I am committed to ensuring we continue to create a cultural change in the way safeguarding is understood and managed at Oxfam.
Dr Fenella Porter, Head of Equalities
I have worked as a teacher, researcher, activist, and practitioner, for nearly 30 years, both within and alongside social movements. A committed intersectional feminist, I began my career working for women's rights organisations in Canada and East Africa, before moving into a more academic path, teaching and publishing at post-graduate level in gender, development and international labour. I have always remained an activist, as part of the women's movement in the UK and internationally, including serving as a board member of Womankind Worldwide, and a Trustee of the Young Women’s Music Project in Oxford. I am also involved with workers' rights and the international trade union movement, as well as with the Co-operative movement and particularly with co-operative and community-based education.
Since April 2017, I have worked for Oxfam: first as Gender Policy Advisor, then Deputy Director of Women's Rights & Gender Justice from January 2019. In July 2019 I was recruited to the role of Co-Director of Women's Rights and Gender Justice (with Saranel Benjamin). In this role we were jointly responsible for providing vision and strategic feminist leadership in Oxfam GB, and for ensuring that gender justice sits at the heart of all we do.
In a restructure in 2020, we created two new teams to support the changes we need to see within the organisation to support our commitment to decolonise our model and be safe, anti-racist, feminist and partner-led. I was appointed to lead one of these teams, the Equalities Team. This team supports the changes we need to see within the organisation to further embed our feminist leadership principles, and promote the safety and empowerment of all, with diversity, inclusion and anti-racism at the heart of our work.
I am convinced that embracing our intersectional feminist principles will help to make all of our work better, give us an inspiring and enabling workplace, and make us a more effective and relevant international development organisation.
I am also privileged to be the mother of three daughters, strong women of whom I am hugely proud, and I always learn from them.
Kate Sayer, Director of Integrity & Ethics
I joined Oxfam in January 2020 to lead the teams responsible for handling whistleblowing reports, misconduct and countering fraud and corruption. I am also responsible for risk and assurance including internal audit. My previous experience was conducting consultancy assignments focusing on improving risk management and decision-making in complex organisations, leading changes in culture to increase levels of compliance with ethical frameworks, and leadership development.
I co-founded the charity specialist audit and advisory firm Sayer Vincent in the 1980s. My work there included investigations into fraud, mismanagement and disciplinary matters and developing governance arrangements for international networks to provide accountability and resource allocation mechanisms.
I am currently Chair of Bond, the umbrella body of UK international development organisations.
Saranel Benjamin, Head of Partnerships
I was born and raised in apartheid South Africa, and lived in a racially segregated township on the outskirts of Thekwini Municipality (formerly Durban). It was during the struggle against apartheid that I committed my life's work to fighting for racial justice. Following the dismantling of apartheid, I worked with the trade union and other emerging social movements. I wanted the women workers/community activists to feel heard and able to demand answers and clarity from within their movements, as well as in the wider political environment.
In 2009, I moved to the UK and worked as a development consultant for a few years before joining War on Want. In my first role I had the privilege of working with informal traders and activists struggling for the right to decent housing in sub-Saharan Africa. In my second role I became Director of International Programmes, overseeing a range of programmes working with social movements, workers collectives and human rights defenders in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. I later went on to join ActionAid UK as Interim Head of Research and Programme Policy to work specifically, and with a more intersectional feminist approach, on women and girls' rights. During that time I piloted a decolonial approach to working with partners on our Access to Justice campaign.
I was excited to join Oxfam GB in September 2019 as Co-Director of Women’s Rights and Gender Justice, to drive its ambition towards being an organisation that puts women's rights at the heart of the struggle for social and economic justice. I was clear at interview that unless the organisation was serious about radical transformation, I wasn’t interested – and as you can see I took the job! I believe I am the first ever woman of colour to join Oxfam GB’s senior leadership team.
As part of reshaping the organisation to reflect our strategy, the Co-Director roles were replaced by two roles that cover a broader agenda of anti-racism, feminism, diversity and inclusion and de-colonisation in our internal and external practices. In October 2020 I started in the role of Head of Partnerships, leading a team which seeks to develop and implement safe, feminist, anti-racist and partner-led approaches to development and campaigning. The work of the Partnerships team, particularly our decolonial, anti-racist, intersectional feminist approaches and practices, need to permeate all aspects of Oxfam GB’s work. My role is to be an enabler of this commitment through cross-organisational working groups and, working with the Chief Impact Officer, I also look to play a leadership role in these areas in support of the Confederation as a whole.
Oxfam’s Board of Trustees
Oxfam's trustees are ultimately responsible in law for the charity, its assets and activities.
They form the Council of Trustees, which is the governing body of the Association of Oxfam (a not-for-profit limited-liability company). They are appointed because of their commitment to Oxfam and their experience and skills which enable them to undertake the responsibilities of trusteeship of a large and complex charity.
Reports on council meetings can be found on the plans, reports and policies pages.
Charles Gurassa, Chair
Charles Gurassa has been Chair of Oxfam GB since October 2020. He has extensive senior leadership and governance experience, including managing transformative change – and a passion for Oxfam’s values and work.
Charles is Chair of Channel 4 and has been a Trustee of English Heritage since 2015. From 2005-2014 he served in board-level roles for the National Trust, including as Deputy Chair from 2013-14 and as Chair of National Trust Enterprises (2006-2013). Charles has also supported the Migration Museum in London as a Trustee since 2014 and chaired Genesis Housing Group, a housing association, from 2010-2017.
Other current and recent non-executive positions include:
2018 – current Great Rail Journeys Chair
2011– end 2020 EasyJet Deputy Chair
2013 – 2019 Merlin Entertainments Group Senior Independent Director
In addition to not-for-profit and non-executive experience, Charles brings decades of executive experience, including as former chief executive of both Thomson Travel and TUI Northern Europe. He started his career as a youth worker with Youth Action York before moving into the travel and tourism sector. Charles made the decision in 2003 to step back from full-time executive roles for family reasons and since then has held a diverse range of non-executive positions.
Charles lives in London but loves to spend time in Italy. His hobbies include music, theatre, tennis and football (he’s a Chelsea fan).
Angela Cluff, Deputy Chair
Angela Cluff is a fundraising consultant. She works with UK and international charities and not for profit organisations to transform fundraising performance. She has a special interest in major donor fundraising and the power of philanthropy.
Before becoming a fundraiser, Angela's career was in commercial marketing, advertising and market research. Her fundraising career has spanned senior roles across a range of fundraising streams and organisations, including NSPCC where she played a leading role in creating and implementing the ground-breaking FULL STOP campaign.
Angela has been a fundraising consultant for the last 15 years, as a director of The Management Centre and now as an independent freelancer.
Angela is a regular speaker at national and international fundraising conferences on a wide range of topics, is an occasional writer and was a contributor to the Commission on the Donor Experience. She is now Chair of the Institute of Fundraising special interest group on the supporter experience.
She has recently stepped down as Vice-Chair of CARE International UK, and is a proud supporter of Oxfam GB.
Les Campbell, Treasurer
Les is a chartered accountant with 40 years of experience in various finance roles in the private and public sector. He retired in 2017 as finance director in the Department for International Development. Prior to that, he was finance director at the Student Loans Company and before that, finance director at Glasgow Housing Association. His private sector roles were in British Energy, Scottish Power and PwC.
He is a member of the Board of the International Institute for Environmental Development (IIED), the policy and action research organisation which promotes sustainable development to improve livelihoods and protect the environments on which these livelihoods are built. He has previously had non-executive roles with the Scottish Legal Aid Board, which is responsible for managing legal aid in Scotland, and with Quarriers, Scotland's leading social care charity. He chaired the audit committee in both these organisations.
In his spare time, Les enjoys cycling and has been spotted in the Alps and the Pyrenees (though finds the hills around Glasgow much easier).
Les joined the Council of Oxfam GB as Treasurer-designate in December 2018 and became Treasurer in July 2019.
Andrew has been a leading figure in civil society for over 30 years and has a longstanding commitment to aid and sustainable development.
He is a chartered accountant and was Finance Director and Deputy Chief Executive of ActionAid UK (1986-1991) and Director of Finance and Corporate Services at Barnardo's (1992-1995), then moved to the BBC as Chief Operating Officer of BBC World Service (1995-2004). He was the first chief executive of the Charity Commission for England & Wales (2004-2010) and then editor of Charity Finance magazine (until 2015).
Andrew's extensive non-executive experience includes serving as a non-executive board member of the Information Commission (2010-2015) and Chair of the Fundraising Standards Board (2015-2016). He is a former trustee of VSO and Unicef UK and is the author of The Governance and Management of Charities. He received the Outstanding Achievement Award for longstanding commitment and service to the voluntary sector at the Charity Awards 2008.
Currently, Andrew is also Visiting Professor of Charity Governance and Finance at Cass Business School and a Trustee of The Baring Foundation.
Andrew is a member of Oxfam GB's Trustee Audit & Finance Group.
Ken Caldwell is the former Executive Director of WaterAid International. Prior to this appointment, he led a consulting practice for seven years, working with leading global international NGO federations on issues of strategy, governance, and programme effectiveness. In earlier roles, Ken has worked as the International Programmes Director of Save the Children, as Chief Executive of Sussex Enterprise, as Deputy Director of Voluntary Service Overseas, and as a consultant with McKinsey and Co.
Ken has also served in a wide variety of non-executive roles in the not-for-profit sector, including as a Board member of the Institute of Development Studies, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, the Children's Society, and the National Centre for Social Research, the UK Roundtable on Sustainable Development, and as the founding Chair of BOND.
Ken is Chair of the Programme Committee at Oxfam GB.
Lois Jacobs joined Oxfam as a Trustee in 2016.
From 2009-2017 Lois worked for WPP the marketing communications company (NYSE). From 2013 she was Global CEO at Landor, a branding and design consultancy with 27 offices in 21 countries. Prior to joining Landor, she was Worldwide CEO at FITCH, a retail branding and design consultancy with studios in 9 countries.
Between 1999 and 2009 Lois was President International of the Interpublic owned (NYSE) experiential marketing agency, Jack Morton Worldwide. During that time, she delivered worldwide campaigns for large corporate clients. Additionally, she created and led the public events practice, producing two Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies, two G8 Summits and a number of other brand experiences for governments and capital cities around the world. She was retained as a consultant in Beijing to advise on the production of the 2008 Olympic Ceremonies.
Prior to Jack Morton she led her own experiential marketing company which was acquired by Saatchi & Saatchi.
"I was called to the Ghana Bar in 1996 and the plan was to go into private legal practice until I found myself in the Gambia working as a Legal Officer with the African Commission for Human and Peoples Rights. It was there that I discovered my true calling, I believe. This was 1997/98 - at the height of Sani Abacha's excesses, and several civil society organisations (from Nigeria especially) engaged the Commission actively and fought for democracy and the respect for and protection of human rights in their countries. This fight for social justice was one I fully identified with and wanted to be a part of. I have not looked back since.
In 2004, I coordinated the work of the over 200-member coalition that pushed for a legal framework to protect survivors of domestic violence in Ghana and I have been an active member of the women's movement. Through my work with the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) as Governance Program Officer and Country Coordinator for Nigeria I pushed for an enabling environment for civic engagement, consolidating democracy, transparency and accountability in governance, the respect, promotion, protection and fulfilment of human rights in the sub-region. As the Regional Policy Advisor for West Africa for Ibis West Africa, I contributed to the organisation's work on improving natural resource governance, local governance and education, especially in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Currently, I head the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), an organization with a mission to strengthen the capacity of civil society primarily in West Africa, but also beyond, to become more effective, efficient and sustainable in the fight for social justice and contribution to development.
Oxfam GB's mission of ending poverty and fighting inequality resonates with me on several levels and it is both a pleasure and privilege for me to join the team as a Trustee. I hope to contribute all I can towards achieving this noble mission and trust that I'll learn a lot too."
Nic Cheeseman is the Professor of Democracy and International Development and the Research Director of the International Development Department at the University of Birmingham. Before this, Nic taught for ten years at Oxford University, where he gradually worked his way up from a research fellow to the Director of the African Studies Centre.
Nic's work focuses on African politics, democratization and development and he has conducted fieldwork in Kenya, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. During his academic career, Nic has written and edited a number of books including the Our Turn to Eat: Politics in Kenya Since 1950 (Lit Verlag, 2010); The Handbook of African Politics (Routledge 2013), Democracy in Africa (Cambridge University Press 2015), and How to Rig an Election (Yale University Press 2018). He is also the recipient of the GIGA award for the best article in Comparative Area Studies (2013) and the Frank Cass Award for the best article in Democratization (2015).
Over the last few years Nic has spent a lot of his time drawing on his research to advise governments and think tanks around the world, including the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, the Department for International Development and Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK government, the Lagos State Government in Nigeria, and Kofi Annan's African Progress Panel. He writes a bi-weekly column for the Daily Nation newspaper in Kenya, and his research and op-eds have appeared in the Economist, Le Monde, Financial Times, Newsweek, Washington Post, Wall St Journal, New York Times, New Yorker, Guardian, and the Mail & Guardian. Many of his ideas can be found on the website he founded to promote more informed debate about African politics, www.democracyinafrica.org.
Nic is a member of the Programme Committee
Tunde is a Senior Partner with McKinsey & Company, Inc, a global management consultancy firm that advises leading institutions on a range of issues. He is based in London and leads the UK Digital Practice for the firm. He primarily works with Financial Institutions and Public Sector clients on strategy, operations, technology and organisation topics. He holds an MEng degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Imperial College, London.
He has been a supporter of Oxfam for more than a decade - working with members of the LT and Oxfam colleagues on topics spanning the set up of Just Energy, Shop logistics improvements, Fundraising Innovation, Culture and Private sector collaboration amongst many topics. Tunde has been a member of Oxfam's Trustee Audit & Finance Group since 2015.
Tunde is energised and impressed by the passion and commitment Oxfam colleagues bring to tackling critical social issues. He is excited to together find ways to amplify this impact, taking advantage where helpful of the insights he has gained seeing the practices and techniques employed by many highly effective organisations.
Annie Hudson was, until March 2020, Strategic Director, Children's Services in Lambeth Council where she successfully led work to transform and improve children's services, previously she was Chief Executive of The College of Social Work until its closure in late 2016. Prior to that Annie was Director of Children's Services (DCS) in Bristol.
Annie trained and practised as a social worker in Brighton and Newcastle upon Tyne. She was then a lecturer in social work at Manchester University where she researched and published on child protection, young women's experiences of care and social work education. In 1989 Annie returned to local authority work as a social work manager in Bristol.
As Bristol's Director of Children's Services, Annie worked with the BBC on the highly acclaimed 'Protecting our Children' TV series. In 2012 she was given a national Social Worker of the Year award for her 'outstanding contribution to social work'.
Annie has held a range of national and regional children's services roles with particular interest and focus on adoption, serious youth violence, child safeguarding. She is currently a Trustee of the Board of the Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE). She is a member of the Association of the Directors of Children's Services.
Annie is delighted to be joining Oxfam at a critical point in its development. Annie is Oxfam's lead trustee for safeguarding and will from April 2020 chair our Safeguarding & Ethics Committee, she will be seeking to help make these issues fully integral to all aspects of Oxfam's vital and inspirational work across the world.