How a quiet leader made Plan more visible

By Jenny Lei Ravelo 24 August 2015

Nigel Chapman, outgoing Plan International CEO. Photo by: Plan International

Six years ago, people around him made such a big fuss when Nigel Chapman left the BBC World Service. He was at the top of his game at the premier British media platform when he decided to make the transition to head children’s charity Plan International.

But now, he is preparing to hand over the reins at Plan to incoming CEO Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen at the end of the month quietly and with little fanfare.

For those who know Chapman, this is hardly surprising. He’s been described as a man of few words, one who has spent a large part of his time as CEO on finding ways to improve the organization’s internal structure — from how it does its work to where it gets the resources to get it done.

The CEO’s first priorities when he joined the organization in 2009 were to develop a guideline for child-centered community development programming to be employed in all countries where Plan works, provide detailed and clear policies — such as in food aid procurement or what in-kind gifts the organization can and cannot accept — and develop a strategy to diversify Plan’s funding sources, particularly its grants portfolio, which at that time covered only 18 percent of the organization’s total income of 468 million euros ($532.7 million).

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About the author

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Jenny Lei Ravelo@JennyLeiRavelo

Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex senior reporter based in Manila. Since 2011, she has covered a wide range of development and humanitarian aid issues, from leadership and policy changes at DfID to the logistical and security impediments faced by international and local aid responders in disaster-prone and conflict-affected countries in Africa and Asia. Her interests include global health and the analysis of aid challenges and trends in sub-Saharan Africa.


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