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NCVO appoints Sarah Vibert as CEO

Melanie May | 9 March 2022 | News

Sarah Vibert, CEO of the NCVO faces the camera in a black coat and colourful scarf

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), has today announced that interim CEO Sarah Vibert has been appointed to take up the CEO role permanently, with immediate effect.

Vibert has been NCVO’s interim CEO since January 2021, and was previously Director of Public Policy and Volunteering after joining the charity umbrella body in January 2020.

Before joining NCVO, she was CEO of the Neurological Alliance and has worked in senior roles at other organisations including the Epilepsy Society, The Prince’s Charities, and the Greater London Authority. Vibert also volunteers regularly outside of her role at NCVO, including as a trustee of the Brain and Spine Foundation.


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Commenting on her appointment, Vibert said:

“I am honoured that the trustees, members, and staff involved in the process have put their trust and confidence in me as NCVO’s CEO. I have spent my career working and volunteering in charities, and wholeheartedly believe voluntary organisations and volunteers play a vital role in our society.


“NCVO has held a unique place in the voluntary sector for over 100 years. That place has had to be earned and NCVO has continually evolved to anticipate and respond to changes in society. Today is no different. We must continue to adapt to support members to meet the challenges of an ongoing pandemic, inequality, conflict and the climate crisis.


“I am hugely excited to have the opportunity to build on the work the team has undertaken over the past year to reinvent NCVO’s relationships with members, staff and the wider sector. For members, the NCVO I lead will always listen, respond and enable you to come together as a community. We will clear a path in the external environment to make it easier for you to do your vital work supporting people and communities, and we will stand alongside you in championing the role of voluntary organisations and volunteers. For our staff team, NCVO under my leadership will continue the work to empower and support you to thrive at work, and inspire you with a vision for what we are achieving for members and wider society. For partners who share this vision, I will ensure that NCVO will be a generous, collaborative leader in the sector and beyond, focused on how together we can create a strong, fair and connected society.”

The announcement follows a four-month recruitment process, which saw over 200 candidates apply for the role. Recruitment was managed by NCVO’s external recruitment partner Saxton Bampfylde, with the process led by NCVO Chair of Trustees, Dr Priya Singh, with support from other trustees, independent sector leaders, and representatives from NCVO’s staff and 17,000+ strong charity membership.

Commenting on the appointment, Dr Singh said:

“In a fantastic field, she impressed, challenged, and inspired all those involved in the process, presenting a clear and compelling vision for the future of NCVO and our work to support members and our sector. The board’s unanimous decision to appoint Sarah comes after a rigorous four-month recruitment process where we engaged a diverse, experienced, and inspiring set of candidates. I’m proud that the shortlisting and interview process were inclusive, involving representatives from NCVO members and staff, and enabled diverse perspectives and collective decision making. I would like to thank all those involved in the process for volunteering their time and providing such useful feedback on candidates.”


“In welcoming Sarah as CEO, the trustees and I would like to thank her for her achievements as interim CEO. These include the progress we have made towards building our culture at NCVO, members remaining core to the decisions we take and the priorities we set, and the ways we work in effective partnership with others in the sector to influence and advocate for charities and volunteering.”

Also commenting on Vibert’s appointment, Akiko Hart, CEO of the NSUN (National Survivor User Network) and a representative on the member recruitment panel, said:

“At the heart of Sarah’s vision for NCVO, and the sector she understands and loves, is equity. She demonstrates this through her authentic and collaborative leadership, as well as her values-driven approach which shines through all her work. She advocates for the voluntary sector and the communities we come from and serves with authority, intelligence, and passion. Sarah understands the many challenges the sector and NCVO face, and has addressed them with courage and conviction. She sees where, as a sector we sometimes fall short of the values we defend, but she also believes in the work we do, and understands why we do it. I came away from the process with a sense of warmth, clarity and hope, all of which are woven into her work and leadership.”

CAF response

Neil Heslop OBE, Chief Executive at the Charities Aid Foundation, said:

“I would like to congratulate Sarah on her appointment as permanent Chief Executive for the NCVO. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Sarah as we modernise our partnership to better support UK charities. That support has taken on added urgency as charities work to meet the needs of their communities during turbulent times, with many facing increased demand on their services.”

Previous CEO Karl Wilding announced that he was stepping down from the role in January 2021, after 23 years at the organisation, the last 18 months of which he was CEO.