Ruth Owen joins Leonard Cheshire as CEO

Ruth Owen OBE has been appointed by Trustees as the next CEO of international disability charity Leonard Cheshire.

Ruth Owen OBE

A wheelchair user from the age of seven, Ruth is a passionate advocate of disabled people’s rights, and acknowledged for her delivery of innovation in the disability sector. She was awarded an OBE in 2012, in recognition of her services to disabled children and young people.

Ruth joins Leonard Cheshire from Whizz-Kidz, where she has been CEO since 2004. Under her leadership, Whizz-Kidz has become the biggest provider of powered and light weight manual wheelchairs for disabled children outside of the NHS, and a leading campaigning organisation in the sector.

Prior to Whizz-Kidz, Ruth had a successful career in the private sector, in technologies, eventually setting up and running her own IT company for ten years. For several years, Ruth was a Trustee of children’s charity Barnardo’s.

In 2018 she was appointed as a non-Executive Director of Motability Operations Group Plc, and in 2019 was selected as a member of The Mayor of London’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group.  In 2019, Ruth was appointed by The Office for Disability Issues (DWP) as Chair of Greater London Regional Stakeholder Network.

Ruth Owen will join Leonard Cheshire on 1 February 2021.

Leonard Cheshire’s reach and impact has grown significantly in recent years. In 2017/18 the charity’s direct community reach was 30,000 people but it is more than 75,000 now.

“I am delighted to be joining Leonard Cheshire as Chief Executive and feel privileged to have been appointed to this exceptional charity,” said Ruth. “I am passionate about enabling disabled people around the world to live, learn and work as independently as they choose and making a significant and tangible difference to their lives”.

Sally Davis, Chair of Trustees, said:

“The Trustees are delighted that Ruth will be leading the charity. Ruth’s successes speak for themselves. Her passion, drive, business skills, charity and business experience will be a huge asset as we look to build on the achievements of recent years.

“While a huge amount has been achieved, we want to make an even bigger difference to the lives of disabled people around the world. Ruth will be integral to realising that vision and the whole Board looks forward to working with her.”

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