Comic Relief has appointed digital expert Samir Patel to be its new CEO
Samir has over 20 years of international digital, grassroot campaigns and communications experience and will join the charity from Blue State where he is the Head of Insights and Innovation and part of the senior management team leading Blue State in Europe. He has overseen major brand updates, helped charities innovate in fundraising, and has led digital initiatives to engage and mobilise communities for high profile global NGO’s, charities and commercial organisations including Oxfam, Google, Co-op, Amnesty International and the UN’s Refugee Agency.
He brings a wealth of creative film and storytelling experience, and is a strong advocate of equity, diversity and inclusion. Samir has been a member of a number of high-profile steering groups focusing on equality and sustainability and has worked with UN Live to develop new ways to engage young change-makers.
The current interim Chief Executive, Ruth Davison, has led Comic Relief throughout the challenges of the pandemic and delivered both Sport Relief and The Big Night In, whilst pioneering more inclusive storytelling, and introducing funding to tackle racial inequalities exacerbated by Covid-19. Ruth will continue at the helm until Samir’s arrival and will lead the charity’s flagship campaign, Red Nose Day, which this year takes place on Friday March 19th 2021.
Comic Relief Chair, Eric Salama, said: “The world needs Comic Relief more than ever before. To be able to achieve our goals, alongside our relationship with our partners and the BBC, we need to become digital in everything we do – from the content we create, to the way we engage with the UK public and the way we partner with organisations we fund. We also need to continue our growth and development to remain a brand our staff and our partners are proud to be associated with.
“Samir has impressed us with what he has achieved, the way he conducts himself and his vision for Comic Relief. I’m delighted that Samir is joining us to help deliver even greater impact and success. At the same time I would like to pay tribute to Ruth Davison for the way that she has led the organisation through a tumultuous year and for her major achievements with Sport Relief and The Big Night In and I wish her every success in her future.”
Samir Patel said: “Like many, I’ve experienced the magic of Comic Relief first hand through its unique events and shows. It’s an honour to join the talented and passionate team there. This brilliant charity inhabits a special place in the UK’s consciousnesses and is truly a unique, powerful force, using humour and entertainment for good. Digital innovation, strategy and storytelling are all part of my DNA and I look forward to learning and evolving with the organisation to elevate the charity’s vital work to even greater heights.”