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Practical Action announces new CEO

Practical Action is pleased to announce that Paul Smith Lomas has been appointed as the next Chief Executive effective from November 2015.

Paul is currently the International Director at Practical Action, with responsibility for the overall operation of our global programmes and policy work. He originally trained as an mechanical engineer and after several key roles across the commercial and not for profit sector joined Practical Action from Oxfam where he had held the post of Regional Director in the Horn, east and central Africa.

During the past five years Paul has gained a wealth of understanding of Practical Action’s beliefs, programmes, knowledge sharing services, policy influencing and the vital related activities in finance, fundraising, IT, marketing, communications and support activities.  Paul was a key player in the development of the current five year strategy and has had a major role in leading its implementation with our current CEO Simon Trace and the global Strategic Leadership Team. 

Helena Molyneux Chair of the Board of Trustees, said that the post had attracted a strong field and that after a rigorous selection process, Paul was the clear outstanding candidate: “When Trustees in consultation with staff looked at the necessary requirements for our Chief Executive in readiness for recruitment, we recognised that the next Chief Executive would be leading Practical Action through significant changes in the international development landscape, and that this would require dynamic organisational leadership, vision and drive, and strong leadership externally.  Paul demonstrates these attributes, and also shows deep commitment to the ethos of Practical Action and the special role we have in creating access to people-centred sustainable technology.

"Paul is a passionate, dynamic but grounded leader who is forward thinking in his approach and has a deep understanding of the ethos and potential of Practical Action. The Board and staff have wholeheartedly endorsed Paul’s appointment and it is a real pleasure to me when a home grown candidate for a Chief Executive role emerges from the field as the unanimous choice, as Paul has. He will take over an organisation that under Simon Trace’s leadership has gone from strength to strength and is well-positioned to drive forward our vision of a sustainable world free from poverty where technology is used for the benefit of all.”

Paul Smith Lomas also commented on his new role: “Technology is a huge force in our world today but the truth is that technological development is focused on meeting the wants of rich consumers. Scant attention is paid to the vital needs of people in the developing world.  As the pace of technological change gets even faster, as we continue to recognise how vital technologies are for a reasonable quality of life – technology for agriculture and food, for energy, to protect families from disasters, for clean water and sanitation, for health and education -  as the devastating impact of climate change becomes yet more obvious Practical Action’s role in championing technology that challenges poverty and helps protect our planet will be increasingly centre stage. I’m proud of Practical Action’s 50 year heritage and hugely excited to be taking over the leadership at such a vital time for our world.”

23 July 2015

Both Paul and Helena are available for interview and can be contacted through Practical Action’s communications officer Amanda Ross on 01926 634514 or 0753 8797121.

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Practical Action company information | Directors | Trustees | Strategic Leadership Team

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