Comic Relief appoints digital expert Samir Patel as new CEO

11th January 2021

Samir has over 20 years of international digital, grassroot campaigns and communications experience and will join the charity from Blue State where he is the Head of Insights and Innovation and part of the senior management team leading Blue State in Europe. He has overseen major brand updates, helped charities innovate in fundraising, and has led digital initiatives to engage and mobilise communities for high profile global NGO’s, charities and commercial organisations including Oxfam, Google, Co-op, Amnesty International and the UN’s Refugee Agency.

He brings a wealth of creative film and storytelling experience, and is a strong advocate of equity, diversity and inclusion. Samir has been a member of a number of high-profile steering groups focusing on equality and sustainability and has worked with UN Live to develop new ways to engage young change-makers.

The current interim Chief Executive, Ruth Davison, has led Comic Relief throughout the challenges of the pandemic and delivered both Sport Relief and The Big Night In, whilst pioneering more inclusive storytelling, and introducing funding to tackle racial inequalities exacerbated by Covid-19. Ruth will continue at the helm until Samir’s arrival and will lead the charity’s flagship campaign, Red Nose Day, which this year takes place on Friday March 19th 2021.

Comic Relief Chair, Eric Salama, said: “The world needs Comic Relief more than ever before. To be able to achieve our goals, alongside our relationship with our partners and the BBC, we need to become digital in everything we do – from the content we create, to the way we engage with the UK public and the way we partner with organisations we fund. We also need to continue our growth and development to remain a brand our staff and our partners are proud to be associated with.

“Samir has impressed us with what he has achieved, the way he conducts himself and his vision for Comic Relief. I’m delighted that Samir is joining us to help deliver even greater impact and success. At the same time I would like to pay tribute to Ruth Davison for the way that she has led the organisation through a tumultuous year and for her major achievements with Sport Relief and The Big Night In and I wish her every success in her future.”

Samir Patel said: “Like many, I’ve experienced the magic of Comic Relief first hand through its unique events and shows. It's an honour to join the talented and passionate team there. This brilliant charity inhabits a special place in the UK's consciousnesses and is truly a unique, powerful force, using humour and entertainment for good. Digital innovation, strategy and storytelling are all part of my DNA and I look forward to learning and evolving with the organisation to elevate the charity’s vital work to even greater heights.”


Notes to editors: 1, Samir Patel bio: Samir has over 20 years of experience in helping brands and non-profits alike put people first to achieve their objectives. He leads strategy globally for purpose-driven agency Blue State, and his work covers innovation, social impact, and digital engagement for clients including Amnesty International, WaterAid, UNHCR, Co-op, Google and Tate.

For an image of Samir Patel please email

2- About Comic Relief Comic Relief raises money to support people living incredibly tough lives. Through humour and stories of hope, we’ve shown that people can make a massive difference. We fund hundreds of amazing organisations who are working on the ground to support the most vulnerable people and communities in society including many of those hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis. This includes vulnerable children and young people, people who are homeless or who have been forced to flee their homes, women and families at risk of domestic abuse and those struggling with existing or new mental health problems.

For information about Comic Relief and the work it carries out, please visit Comic Relief, registered charity 326568 (England/Wales); SC039730 (Scotland)