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Think tank appoints charity boss as new CEO

Published on: 2 Aug 2023

The King’s Fund think tank has appointed Sarah Woolnough as its new chief executive, who will take over from Richard Murray early next year. 

Ms Woolnough is currently chief executive of charity Asthma and Lung UK and has held senior positions in the health and care sector, other charities – including 15 years at Cancer Research UK – and the civil service. 

She will take up the CEO role in January 2024 and described it as a “critical time” to lead the King’s Fund. 

Current chief executive Richard Murray announced his retirement earlier this year and will leave in November. 

This followed news of Nigel Edward’s planned departure as chief executive of the Nuffield Trust – Thea Stein will be taking over in September

Ms Woolnough’s appointment means the three biggest health think tanks will all be led by women – Jennifer Dixon has been CEO of the Health Foundation since 2013

Ms Woolnough said: “Alongside the many challenges, there are significant opportunities to shape the national debate on the future of health and social care and to bring about improvements to services. The King’s Fund has a vital role to play in providing independent, authoritative policy analysis, supporting leaders in the system, and bringing people together to find sustainable solutions to the biggest challenges facing health and care.

“I look forward to working with the talented team at The King’s Fund. Together, I believe we can build on the organisation’s strong track-record of informing policy, influencing practice, and helping to radically improve health and care.”