Halima Begum will be the next Chief Executive of Oxfam GB, the charity has today announced, taking over from Danny Sriskandarajah who steps down later this month.
Begum is a former senior British diplomat, and was also previously CEO of the Runnymede Trust. She is currently CEO of ActionAid UK and will leave the role to join Oxfam GB next year. Aleema Shivji, Oxfam GB Chief Impact Officer, will be interim Chief Executive until she is in post.
Oxfam GB announced in June that current CEO Danny Sriskandarajah would be leaving the charity at the end of 2023 after five years at the helm, to take up a new role as CEO of the New Economics Foundation. He was previously Secretary General and CEO of CIVICUS.
Speaking on her appointment, Begum said:
“I am excited to be joining Oxfam – an organisation that pushes for change to overcome poverty and inequalities around the world while being part of the fabric of the British high street.
“At a time when the world is beset by conflict and climate change, inequality and division, Oxfam has crucial role in supporting communities’ efforts to escape poverty and ensuring that their voices cannot be ignored by those who hold power.
“Oxfam and ActionAid UK share the same ambitions to shift power and reform the development sector, so this is a natural next step for me. As I transition to my new role at Oxfam, I carry with me the invaluable experiences and lessons learned during my tenure at ActionAid UK, from our humanitarian work in Gaza, our ongoing work on anti-racism and decolonisation and our unwavering commitment to the rights of women and girls around the world.
“I want to express my sincere appreciation for the understanding and encouragement extended to me during this move. ActionAid will always hold a special place in my heart, and I am confident that the organisation will continue to thrive under its capable leadership.
“I am looking forward to taking up the Oxfam baton from Danny, ensuring our work fighting poverty and responding to humanitarian emergencies is truly safe, feminist and anti-racist and that it is led by the communities with which we work.”
Charles Gurassa, Oxfam GB Chair of Trustees, said:
“We are delighted that Halima has agreed to join us. She brings a wealth of experience in how to make change happen and a real passion to fight injustice.
“Under Danny’s leadership, Oxfam has made great strides in in re-establishing its reputation with the British public, delivering its life changing work and advocacy through its global network of partners and transforming the way we work. I am thrilled we have found the right person to lead us on the next stage of that journey.”
Rajiv Vyas, ActionAid UK Acting Chair of Trustees, said:
“ActionAid UK bids a very fond farewell to our widely respected CEO Dr Halima Begum, who is set to embark on a new chapter of her career as CEO of Oxfam GB. Halima’s time at ActionAid UK has been marked by the empathy of her leadership and a passionate belief in our mission of decolonization and anti-racism, as well as ActionAid’s ever vital work in humanitarian emergencies including the ongoing Gaza crisis.
“Her support for ActionAid’s women of colour cannot be overstated, coming as it has at such a critical time for the organisation. Halima will continue to lead in this area during her remaining time with the organisation. We recognise that Halima’s departure is solely due to her decision to accept an opportunity with Oxfam that means so much to her, and this decision has our full support. Otherwise, Halima would have continued to lead ActionAid UK with the same empathy and commitment she has shown since joining the organisation.
“Her colleagues at ActionAid UK look forward to working alongside Halima in the sector for many years to come. We wish her every success at Oxfam and thank her for the remarkable work she has done for the entire ActionAid federation.”