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Practical Action seeks new CEO to take their successful work to the next level

By Practical Action On 13.04.2021 Press release

International development group, Practical Action, has launched the search for a new Chief Executive Officer, after Paul Smith-Lomas announced he will step down after 11 years, including five as CEO.

Founded over 50 years ago by radical economist EF Schumacher, Practical Action has a long history of challenging norms to change the systems that drive poverty and vulnerability. And a well-respected reputation for developing innovative, community-powered solutions that achieve transformative change in peoples’ lives and livelihoods.

However, the rapidly changing effects of climate change, environmental degradation, and the pandemic make this a critical time for many communities around the world. Practical Action is stepping up its ambition, to reflect their challenges.

With a strategy to 2030 for change on a bigger scale, and an appetite to work in new partnerships with many actors to achieve this, the organisation is looking for a leader to help take their work to the next level.

Yvonne Pinto, chair of trustees at Practical Action said:

‘We’re looking for a leader who can open doors, mobilise and unite teams and different stakeholders, provide respect and enduring encouragement, have a vision for the big picture whilst simultaneously understanding the realities at the grassroots.’

Practical Action offers a unique opportunity to step into an exciting leadership role as the organisation looks to the future. Operating in 11 countries across Africa, South Asia, and Latin America, Practical Action has broad expertise in clean energy, water, waste and sanitation, climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience, agriculture, market systems, and gender issues. Increasingly combining this expertise, and working through a portfolio of business models, to solve complex and connected problems.

Yvonne Pinto went on to say:

‘We’re proud of our heritage and how much we’ve achieved already.  And as a global organisation, we value the richness of perspectives and experiences that a diverse workforce brings. We would like to meet candidates from a range of professional backgrounds, with significant experience working with lower and middle-income countries, and a desire to work within an inclusive, multi-cultural organisation that puts communities at the heart of its work.’

Paul Smith Lomas will leave Practical Action at the end of April. Under his guidance, Practical Action has grown, won a number of international accolades, including the Al Zayed Future Energy Prize, and is in a strong financial and operational position.

He will be succeeded on an interim basis by Sarah Roberts, current director for Impact and Influence, who will lead the organisation until a new CEO is appointed.