Matthew Whittaker appointed Chief Executive Officer of Pro Bono Economics

17 October 2019

Pro Bono Economics, the charity that harnesses the power of economics to help the social sector understand and improve its impact and value, has today announced the appointment of Matthew (Matt) Whittaker as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Matt, who leaves his role as Deputy CEO of the Resolution Foundation after eleven years with the think tank, will take up the post with Pro Bono Economics  in mid-November.  

In the words of Lord Gus O’Donnell, Pro Bono Economics’ Chairman, Matt’s arrival comes at “a pivotal time” in the charity’s development, as it builds on its mission to inform the wellbeing agenda in the UK, driving change to help this country become happier, healthier and ultimately more successful.  

Outgoing CEO Julia Grant is stepping down after almost four years to allow more time for non-executive commitments. Since joining the charity in 2016 she has trebled its income base, using this investment to build a robust operational framework and so enable Pro Bono Economics to deliver high-quality economic analysis that can influence and inform public policy.  

Julia has also overseen a significant improvement in the quality and quantity of the charity’s work, more than doubling its annual number of engagements in the form of collaborative projects with individual charities. The insights from this work have furthered the development of policy campaigns in areas such as mental health and the importance of sport and exercise for fitness and resilience.  

Among high-profile projects over the past two years was a cost-benefit analysis prepared for children’s mental health charity Place2Be and published in April 2018. This showed that Place2Be’s primary school counselling services resulted in benefits of £6.20 for every £1 spent. In spring 2019 a report for crisis charity Hestia, highlighting the wider impact of domestic abuse on families and children, helped to effect a change in the Schools Admissions Code, making it easier for children to change schools, and so escape abuse, when moving house.   

In Matt Whittaker, Pro Bono Economics will be welcoming an accomplished economist and policy expert. Over the last decade he has made a central contribution to the growth of the Resolution Foundation’s output and influence, helping to drive its reputation for high-quality and high-impact research on the living standards of low-to-middle income households.  

Over his four years as Deputy CEO of the Resolution Foundation he has managed the organisation’s growing research output. His own work has covered a broad range of topics, including the labour market, tax and benefits system, housing, consumer debt, social inequality, public finances and monetary policy. Prior to joining the Resolution Foundation he spent five years working in the House of Commons. He began his career at a public affairs consultancy, having gained a First Class degree in Politics and Economics from the University of Sheffield.  

Matt is a member of a number of external advisory groups, chaired the Intergenerational Commission’s Technical Panel, and has been a long-standing member of the National Statistician’s Advisory Panel for Consumer Price Statistics. 

Lord Gus O’Donnell, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Pro Bono Economics: 

“Pro Bono Economics has achieved a great deal since our launch ten years ago; the numbers bear testament to that. We have engaged with over 450 charities, harnessing the talents of a network of skilled volunteer economists that now stands at over 500. And we all owe a huge debt of gratitude to our departing CEO Julia Grant in making this possible.  

“While Julia completes her scheduled term as CEO, this is a pivotal time in Pro Bono Economics’ development as we look forward. We are impatient to do more to help more charities, and to share the findings from our work with the people and bodies best placed to lead genuine societal change. In Matt we have found someone with the drive, experience, and ability to make this vision a reality and I look forward to working with him.” 

Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England and Co-Founder, Pro Bono Economics: 

“Pro Bono Economics has taken a giant leap forward under Julia’s leadership and she leaves with our thanks and best wishes leaving a strong and lasting legacy.  Matt’s arrival marks the start of the next great leap forward for PBE as it spreads its wings and widens its societal impact.  He is the perfect person to lead that charge”.  

Matt Whittaker, incoming Chief Executive, Pro Bono Economics:  

“I’m delighted to be joining Pro Bono Economics at such an exciting time. Julia Grant has done so much over the last four years to build the organisation’s reputation, reach and profile, and it’s very evident in speaking with Gus, Andy and the other Trustees just how much pride they justifiably take in the charity’s achievements to date.  

“They are eager to build on those achievements, in order to support the work of even more charities and drive a focus on impact and effectiveness across the sector. I share that eagerness. Charities and social sector organisations play a crucial – and too often overlooked – role in supporting the wellbeing of the country. They operate at the sharp end of society, and often under difficult circumstances. But, while they face numerous challenges in a changing world, they face opportunities too.  

“Pro Bono Economics exists to help charities overcome the challenges and make the most of the opportunities, with the make-up, ambition and network of the organisation meaning it is uniquely well placed to leverage best practice and drive innovation. I am thrilled to be able to lead the organisation as is continues its vital work in this field.” 

– Ends – 

 

For further information, please contact: 

 

SENSO Communications  

Penny Lukats, 07775992350, penny@sensocommunications.com  

 

NOTES TO EDITORS  

 

About Pro Bono Economics 

The charity Pro Bono Economics (PBE) harnesses the power of economics, to help charities and social enterprises understand and improve the impact and value of their work. Set up in 2009, PBE matches professional economists who want to use their skills to volunteer with charities. We have engaged with over 400 charities and have over 400 volunteer economists on our books. The charities we help cover a range of issues including education, employment, mental health and poverty. 

PBE is a charity supported by high-profile economists.  Lord Gus O’Donnell is the Chair of the Board with trustees including Andy Haldane (Bank of England), Sir David Ramsden (Bank of England) and Clare Lombardelli (Director General, Economics and Chief Economic Advisor to the Treasury). Our patrons include Dame Kate Barker, Lord Jim O’Neill, Robert Peston, Martin Wolf and Lord Adair Turner. 

 

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