We're led by a dedicated, experienced and voluntary board of trustees. Together with our board committees, our trustees direct the strategy for the British Red Cross.
Board of trustees
The board can comprise up to seven elected members (chosen from our active volunteer base) and up to six co-opted members appointed by the board (which include the roles of chair and treasurer). Trustees can serve up to two terms of four years each.
The board is committed to ensuring that our governance arrangements are effective and relevant, as well as ensuring that the board members reflect the communities in which we operate. As part of both that commitment and our desire for continuous improvement, the board will work to the Charity Governance Code as appropriate.
Selected for their expertise, the trustees all give their time and energy for free to lead the British Red Cross.
David Bernstein (Chair)
David joined the organisation as chair of the board in January 2014.
David is a chartered accountant with a CV that includes non-executive chair roles at Blacks Leisure Group, French Connection and Sport and Leisure group. He was also a non-executive director at Carluccio’s and joint chief executive of the Pentland Group. As well as his role as chair of the British Red Cross, he is also chair of Ted Baker.
David has been heavily involved in the football world as chairman of Manchester City, Wembley Stadium and the Football Association. He was recognised in the 2014 New Year Honours list, receiving a CBE for his services to football. In 2013, David was appointed to the FIFA taskforce to fight discrimination worldwide.
His previous work within the charity sector includes president at Level Playing Field and chair of its European counterpart, Centre for Access to Football in Europe. These charities aim to improve facilities and create a more accessible and inclusive match-day experience for disabled supporters throughout the UK and Europe.
Fionnuala Cook DL OBE
Fionnuala has volunteered for a variety of charities in Northern Ireland. Before joining the board in January 2014, she served as vice president of the British Red Cross in Northern Ireland from 2011 to 2013.
Fionnuala was the first vice chair of the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education and was a founding trustee of the Integrated Education Fund. She has previously served as chair of UNICEF in County Armagh.
From 1991 to 2001, Fionnuala led the consumer watchdog for health and social services in the southern area of Northern Ireland. In 2003 she was appointed chair of the southern health and social services board. Through her service on various bodies, she has gained wide experience of health and social care.
Fionnuala served on the general advisory council of the BBC from 1979 to 1986. She was a member, and on occasion acting chair, of the General Osteopathic Council from 2001 to 2009. Fionnuala is currently president of the Hospital Caterers Association of the UK.
John Dauth AO LVO (vice chair)
John joined the board in January 2014. Prior to his appointment, he served in the Australian diplomatic service for 44 years, including most recently before retiring as Australian high commissioner to the United Kingdom.
Prior to this, John served as the high commissioner to New Zealand; ambassador to the United Nations in New York (2001 to 2006); diplomatic postings to Tehran, New Caledonia and Malaysia; and served as assistant press secretary to the Queen (1977 to 1980). Throughout his diplomatic career John has been exposed to the work of the British Red Cross.
In addition to his work with the Red Cross, he is also a trustee of the London committee for Australian opera.
Robert Dewar CMG
Bob joined the board in March 2013. He has spent most of his life living and working in Africa. As a career diplomat he worked in several countries where the International Committee of the Red Cross has been present (Angola, Ethiopia and Mozambique). He was formerly British high commissioner in Nigeria and Mozambique, as well as British ambassador to Ethiopia. He has served as UK permanent representative to the African Union (2004 to 2006); and the Economic Community of West African States (2007 to 2011). He also worked as a teacher for Voluntary Service Overseas in Sudan.
Bob is particularly interested in the link between emergency response and sustainable development, and how governmental agencies, NGOs and the international community can produce a more co-ordinated response that focuses on capacity building.
Bob is also an associate fellow of Chatham House’s Africa Programme.
Hilary Douglas CB
Hilary joined the board in January 2013. She is an executive coach and works with Praesta Partners, supporting senior leaders and their teams to succeed across a variety of sectors.
Prior to this, Hilary worked at the Royal Institute of International Affairs and later joined the civil service. She served as chief operating officer and held other equivalent roles on the boards of the Department for Education, HM Treasury and the Department for Business.
Hilary became British Red Cross county president for Surrey in 2010.
Hilary is a trustee of two other charities that help ex-offenders find work and support the lowest-paid public servants when they experience personal crises. She serves as a governor of a multicultural primary school in Kings Cross, and is also a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB).
Deborah was appointed to the board in December 2016.
Deborah has over 25 years of health care experience. She has a particular interest in exploring opportunities for using technology to improve social care and support the health and wellbeing of people.
In her current role as senior director with the NHS, Deborah is responsible for public-facing digital services in the NHS. She leads the digital strategy for the transformation of the urgent and emergency care system. She is an experienced board member and holds board-level roles across a range of organisations.
Liz Hazell (treasurer)
Liz was appointed as a trustee in the role of treasurer and as chair of the finance and audit committee by the board in December 2016. Prior to this, she was a member of our finance and audit committee for more than five years.
Liz is a partner at Saffery Champness and head of the firm’s not-for-profit group. Prior to this, she headed the national charities practice at PwC. She has a wealth of experience in the charity and not-for-profit sector which she brings to the British Red Cross.
Lewis joined the board in January 2018. He is a director at Finsbury, a strategic communications firm. His area of expertise relates to campaigns, coalition building, public policy and the role of business in society. Lewis was formerly the founding director of the Fair Education Alliance, an advocacy coalition of over 90 charities and corporates seeking to change the education system. Prior to that he worked at Brunswick.
Lewis is the coach of the England Schools Debating Team and was a former world university debating champion for Oxford University. He has coached debating and public speaking in over 11 countries over the past 10 years.
He studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at New College Oxford and served as president of the Oxford University Students Union
Gill joined the board in January 2013, and has been an active member of the British Red Cross since her school days.
Gill’s Red Cross service has taken her from Shetland to Zimbabwe, with a number of visits to the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in between. She used to be a volunteers council chair. Gill has helped to deliver services in international tracing and messaging, emergency response, psychosocial support and therapeutic care, as well as training. Gill is particularly passionate about the work of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement.
Her professional background is in education, both as a teacher of mathematics and in the field of special educational needs. She sits on ethnic minority, health and social care and civic bodies within her local council and health service.
Geeta became a trustee in January 2018. A doctor by training, Geeta is also the founder and medical director of Create Fertility; a senior consultant gynaecologist and lead consultant for reproductive medicine at St George’s Hospital, London.
She is a member of the Tiffany Circle, a society of women leaders who support the British Red Cross. Geeta has also previously served as a senior governor of primary and secondary state schools in south London. She has been involved in charities promoting education, women’s health, equality and social mobility for over a decade.
Daniel joined the board in January 2013. Prior to joining the board, his main involvement with the British Red Cross was with ambulance support. Daniel provided first aid cover at events and carried out support shifts for the ambulance service.
Daniel works as an emergency department doctor in south west London. He started his NHS career as an emergency medical dispatcher in the 999 control room. He has previously served as a governor and vice chair for a large infant school.
Keith joined the board in 2012. He first joined the British Red Cross in 2010 as an event first aid volunteer, and has gone on to become a group leader training other volunteers. Keith runs schools first aid courses and community drug and alcohol rehabilitation groups.
In terms of his professional expertise, he spent most of his career in the police service. As chief superintendent, he taught strategic management at the Police Staff College and chaired a United Nations conference in Mozambique.
After retiring, Keith ran a hotel, became East Knoyle parish council’s parish clerk, and managed its community shop. He previously served as the independent chair of Wiltshire Council Standards Committee, and as chair of trustees for a classical music festival.
Keith also volunteers with Helensburgh Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and is on its management team.
Paul Taylor (vice chair)
Paul joined the board in 2012 for his first term. In his second term he is now vice chair. Paul joined the British Red Cross as an emergency response volunteer in 2004. He has held various roles, including fire and emergency services support duty officer. He undertook numerous projects in the south east and beyond, and served in his local coastguard’s search and rescue and first responder teams.
Paul started his career in industrial engineering. He then gained extensive experience in human resource management in the UK and internationally. For 14 years he worked with a Hong Kong non-profit organisation, and was most recently director of personnel at the Elizabeth Finn Trust.
Paul is an active magistrate, a member of the Lord Chancellor’s Essex Advisory Committee, and a school governor.