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Press release

Sarah Woolnough announced as new Chief Executive of The King’s Fund

Sarah Woolnough, current Chief Executive of Asthma + Lung UK, has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of The King’s Fund. Sarah will succeed Richard Murray, who will step down in November 2023.

Sarah has held senior leadership positions across the health and care sector, with her previous roles spanning national charities, the civil service, and parliament.

Commenting on her appointment, Sarah Woolnough said:

‘I am delighted to be taking over as Chief Executive of The King’s Fund. It will be a critical time to lead The King’s Fund, as health and care services, and the people who rely on them, face challenges on multiple fronts.

‘But alongside the many challenges, there are significant opportunities to shape the national debate on the future of health and social care and to bring about improvements to services. The King’s Fund has a vital role to play in providing independent, authoritative policy analysis, supporting leaders in the system, and bringing people together to find sustainable solutions to the biggest challenges facing health and care.

‘I look forward to working with the talented team at The King’s Fund. Together, I believe we can build on the organisation’s strong track-record of informing policy, influencing practice, and helping to radically improve health and care.’

Commenting on the appointment, Professor Lord Kakkar, Chair of The King’s Fund’s Board of Trustees, said:

'I am delighted that Sarah will be the next Chief Executive of The King’s Fund. She has considerable experience in the health and care sector and has delivered substantial achievement and impact for patients, the public and the organisations she has served through her thoughtful and imaginative leadership.

‘I am confident that under Sarah, The King’s Fund will make further strides towards its vision that the best possible health and care is available to all.

‘Our thanks go to Richard Murray for his outstanding leadership of the organisation since 2019, and he leaves the organisation in a strong position to continue its mission.’

Sarah will take up the post of Chief Executive of The King’s Fund in January 2024.

Notes to editors

For further information, or to request an interview, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team on 020 7307 2585 (if calling out of hours, please ring 07584 146035).

Sarah Woolnough biography

Sarah has been Chief Executive of Asthma + Lung UK since 2020, and has led all aspects of the national charity’s work to transform lung health, supporting people, advancing research, and advocating for improvements in the care and support for people with a lung condition.

Sarah has spent much of her career in senior leadership roles in health, including many years as Executive Director of Policy, Information and Communications at Cancer Research UK. She has also worked in the civil service, parliament and at membership organisation, the Sport and Recreation Alliance. Sarah was seconded to the Department of Health in 2010 to help develop a new national cancer strategy.

Sarah is Chair of the Healthy Air Campaign, Co-Chair of the NHS England National Respiratory Delivery Board, a Trustee of mental health research charity MQ, a member of the ABPI Patient Advisory Council, a member of the Richmond Group of health charities. She has previously been a Trustee of Action on Smoking and Health, the Association of Medical Research Charities, the National Cancer Research Institute and Bliss, the special care baby charity.

The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.

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