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Today, because of Nigel’s leadership, many more children can say: “I am safe. I am educated. I am heard. I have a future.” 

August 1, 2019

Nigel Spence steps down as CEO after 14 years with ChildFund

The ChildFund Australia Board has announced that Nigel Spence will be moving on from his role as CEO in December 2019, after long and distinguished service.

In his 14 years as CEO, Nigel has led ChildFund through significant growth and change, and been at the helm of an organisation that is creating new opportunities for vulnerable children, their families and communities.

Today, because of Nigel’s leadership, many more children can say: “I am safe. I am educated. I am heard. I have a future.”

Under his leadership, ChildFund has expanded its programs to children and young people in Vietnam and Papua New Guinea, and commenced new operations in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Timor-Leste.

ChildFund is now playing a greater role in humanitarian response, with a focus on child protection, and continues to support the development work of ChildFund Alliance partners in Africa, Asia and the Americas.

The last decade has been a time of significant change in the international development sector. Nigel has been instrumental in ensuring ChildFund’s program focus has adapted to the changing needs of children, expanding beyond its original scope to respond to the critical issues of child protection, children’s resilience, risk preparedness, and responses to conflicts and disasters.

ChildFund’s award-winning sport for development program, ChildFund Pass It Back, is an example of the innovative programming introduced during Nigel’s time as CEO.

The organisation’s effectiveness in combining sport and learning outcomes has resulted in ChildFund being awarded World Rugby’s principal charity partner for the Rugby World Cup 2019. This is a remarkable achievement.

Within the organisation, Nigel has been key to ensuring that ChildFund’s funding sources have both grown and diversified. This is critical to the long-term sustainability of ChildFund’s programs, and effectiveness in giving more children a childhood where they are protected, nurtured and given access to opportunity.

He has also created a workplace culture of integrity, inclusion, and collaboration among employees across the organisation’s seven offices. His open-door policy will be missed by all staff.

More broadly across the sector, Nigel has been a leading contributor to ChildFund’s global network, the ChildFund Alliance, and has served on the ACFID Board, as a member and Vice President.

With his wealth of experience in child protection, both in Australia and internationally, Nigel is looking forward to finishing his PhD research into the influence of international organisations on child protection policy in Asia.

“I am extraordinarily fortunate to have worked at ChildFund for so long with great colleagues, supporters, partners and community members who share a deep commitment to children’s rights,” said Nigel. “ChildFund Australia is a strong and effective organisation with an exciting future ahead.”

ChildFund Chair Mary Latham expressed her deep gratitude to Nigel for his service as CEO on behalf of the whole Board. “Nigel’s dedication to ChildFund, to his team and to the children we support has been phenomenal.

“His period of service as CEO has been truly transformational for ChildFund.”

Nigel and the Board will work together on a recruitment process in the coming months, which will allow for an orderly succession from Nigel to the new CEO.