Chief Executive Officer Liz Warner Announces Departure for Social Enterprise

24th May 2019

Liz Warner is to leave her position as Chief Executive Officer of Comic Relief at the end of 2019 after more than three years at the helm of the charity.

Liz became Comic Relief’s second ever CEO in 2016 with the objective to future proof the charity and position the organisation as digital, contemporary and relevant.

She departs to start a new social enterprise and take on new board roles but will remain at the helm until late 2019 to solidify plans for 2020’s Sport Relief, to launch a new ethical sourcing and sustainability strategy and to ensure a smooth transition for the new Chief Executive.

“I came to Comic Relief with a clear remit to modernise and make change.  I believe the foundations are now laid for the organisation to face the future with renewed vigour on all media platforms,” says Liz.   “The brand is incredibly strong and the talent it attracts is world class.  I am proud of the decision to fund locally led organisations and to focus our work on four of the biggest issues of our time.   I have seen first-hand just how the money we raise has helped to change millions of lives in the UK and abroad.  It has been a privilege to see and meet those whose lives have been transformed as a result of the incredible range of projects Comic Relief funds.”

Achievements during Liz’s tenure include introducing new revenue sources such as digital fundraising and live events, introduced to lessen dependence on one linear TV event and to broaden the charity’s appeal to new younger audiences.  This year for the first time Comic Relief held a critically acclaimed Wembley Comedy Spectacular, raising funds and featuring established and new talent, including Rosie Jones.

Liz has also brought greater focus to Comic Relief’s work, concentrating the funding on four of the biggest issues of our time - homelessness and forced migration, global mental health, supporting women and girls, and helping young children to survive and thrive.  In addition, she instituted a 50/50 funding split across all campaigns, with half of all money raised going to support projects in the UK and half to projects abroad.

Liz has shifted the dial and started the change in approach Comic Relief takes to its appeal films. She has also established a more diverse and inclusive board of trustees and an active internal diversity programme.

Tim Davie, Chairman of Comic Relief, said: “Liz has set the charity on course to be sector-leading in its safeguarding processes, increased its digital capability and attracted a new leadership team with a refreshed skill base, all of which means the charity is now well positioned to tackle the challenge of long-term sustainability.

She has made Comic Relief leaner and more focused, and I want to thank her for the enormous amount of hard work and energy she has brought to this role.”

Comic Relief Co-Founder Richard Curtis said: “I’d like to thank Liz for all her incredible hard work over the past three years. I am so pleased and grateful that we have been able to retain the essence of Comic Relief while also getting the charity ready for the future, both creatively and in the ever-changing charity sector. And, not to be forgotten, she’s been part of raising over £190 million and making sure it’s brilliantly spent."

Comic Relief will start the recruitment process for a new CEO immediately.

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