The business marketing leader and Jewish philanthropist Eric Salama has been appointed as the new chair of the Comic Relief.
Mr Salama – who recently stepped down as the CEO of international research, insight and data consultancy Kantar – will succeed BBC Studios chief executive Tim Davie in the new role at the charity on July 1.
A key part of Mr Salama’s role will be overseeing the charity’s long-term response to Covid-19 and looking at new ways of operating as a result of the pandemic.
The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on all aspects of the voluntary sector and on vulnerable communities, and will do for years to come.
Mr Salama said: “Comic Relief has achieved so much over the past 30 years and has the potential to achieve even more over the next 30.
‘’Its creative heart is unique and its services are needed more than ever right now.
‘’I look forward to helping the charity grow to even greater success. I’m thrilled to be joining a group of such talented people and I can’t wait to start.”
During his 18-year stint in charge of Kantar the organisation grew into a $4bn outfit with 30,000 employees.
Kantar operates in all markets around the world, including all the countries where Comic Relief works.
Mr Salama has previously served as an adviser to the government on e-commerce and business, and as a non-executive director at the Department for International Development and has helped many brands expand both locally and internationally.
In January 2019 the JC revealed how Mr Salama was stabbed close to his heart by a man who was attempting to mug him in Kew Gardens, west London, in a car-jacking incident.
The British Museum trustee and governor of London’s Birkbeck College managed to crawl back to the café for help, and was then treated by paramedics.
Between 1984 and 1986, Mr Salama worked as a researcher and speechwriter for the Labour Party Foreign Affairs Team in the House of Commons.
He has also made regular donations to Jewish causes, including one to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which allowed them to begin a new research project.
Ruth Davison, Chief Executive of Comic Relief said: “It is fantastic to warmly welcome Eric to Comic Relief and I look forward to working closely with him.
‘’This is a crucial moment for the charity as we face new challenges and refresh our strategic goals and vision.
‘’Tim Davie has been a brilliant chair and I’m confident that Eric’s strong leadership and unique mix of business and creative expertise will put Comic Relief on the path to even geater success.”