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Our executive leadership team

Meet our executive leadership team who, under the direction of the chief executive, are responsible for the management of the organisation.

Chief executive

Mike Adamson

Mike became chief executive in October 2014. 

Prior to this, he was managing director of operations, responsible for the leadership of the British Red Cross' UK and international programmes and its advocacy work, overseeing a unified approach to all operations. 

Mike took on this role in October 2010, but he had previously held several other positions in the organisation between 1992 and 2003, including head of international programme development, director for the London and south-east region, and director of strategy, planning and information systems. 

Executive director of UK operations

Norman McKinley

Norman joined the Red Cross in 1997 as a regional director before occupying a number of senior positions across the organisation. 

He is now executive director of UK operations. Previously he was UK director for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Prior to his appointment with the Red Cross, Norman had a successful career within personal health and social services in Northern Ireland. 

Executive director of people, learning and strategic change

Roger Smith OBE

Roger joined the Red Cross in 1993 as its head of training, after a successful career in education including nine years as a head teacher. 

After a year as head of HR and three years as director of support services, he spent six months as lead director in the period leading up to the appointment of Sir Nicholas Young as CEO. 

As director of people, learning and strategic change, Roger’s current responsibilities cover human resources, volunteering, leadership development, organisation development and change management, learning and development, youth engagement, employee relations, security, diversity and carbon reduction. 

Executive director of fundraising

Mark Astarita OBE

Mark joined the Red Cross as director of fundraising in 2003, moving from The National Deaf Children's Society where he held the position of deputy chief executive. 

Mark has over 20 years’ experience of fundraising in the voluntary sector and during his eleven years at the British Red Cross, he has been responsible for launching over 60 emergency appeals, including appeals for the 2011 Japan tsunami, the 2005 London bombings, Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.  

Mark has management responsibility of £150 million of income, around 950 staff, and the 10,000 volunteers who give their time to fundraising and retail. He is one of the few UK fundraisers who has been responsible for raising over a billion pounds during his career.

Mark is widely known in the voluntary sector, often utilising his experience through his involvement in a variety of charities and public bodies. In 2008, Mark became a trustee of the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) and was its chair between 2011 and 2014. He is now a trustee on the board of his local hospice, St Joseph’s. For the last three years he has been voted by his peers as the most influential person in fundraising. 

Executive director of international

Alexander Matheou

Prior to joining the British Red Cross, Alexander was regional representative for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) three times. 

Alexander has worked for the past 18 years in humanitarian aid, development and institutional development in the Middle East, South Asia, the former Soviet Union and Africa. 

He has also headed international missions in Russia, India, East Africa and Southern Africa. 

Chief financial officer

Martin Halliwell

Martin joined the Red Cross in October 2016 from Unilever in Vietnam, where he held the role of vice president of finance. Prior to this, he held global senior roles with Unilever, Alberto Culver, Kingfisher and Procter & Gamble. 

He combines his corporate experience with a commitment to social impact through his contribution to Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan.

Martin qualified as a chartered accountant with Deloitte and has an MBA from the Open University.

Chief information officer

Rosie Slater

Rosie Slater joined the Red Cross as chief information officer in April 2015. 

She has significant experience in both technology and digital roles, having previously worked for the Children’s Society, Cancer Research UK and NSPCC, as well as consulting experience in the private sector with PA Consulting and IBM. 

Executive director of communications and engagement

Zoe Abrams

Zoe joined the Red Cross in December 2015. Her previous role was director of marketing communications at Barnardo’s. Here she led integrated engagement with a diverse range of audiences to raise funds and campaign for the UK’s most vulnerable children. 

Prior to joining the voluntary sector in 2011, Zoe spent a decade working in Whitehall and Westminster. She worked in the press offices of the Department for Education and Defra. She was responsible for overseeing the Ministry of Justice’s first major marketing campaign. Zoe also managed government communications about the EU at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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