ECT has announced the upcoming retirement of its long-serving chief executive, Anna Whitty MBE.
Anna will step down at the end of April, after more than a decade at the helm. John Chesters, currently the CEO of Emmaus Hertfordshire, will take over as ECT’s new chief executive in May.
Anna informed the Board of her intention to retire in October. In a message to the ECT team, she said: “There is always so much more to do, particularly in the midst of such unprecedented times – but I have come to a point in my life at which I believe the time is now right for me to step away and spend more time with my grandchildren.”
ECT Chair Patrick O’Keeffe paid tribute to Anna’s 32 years of dedication to the charity, the past 13 of which she has served as chief executive.
“Under Anna’s leadership, ECT has become a leading charity in the UK, particularly within the Community Transport sector,” he said. “We have had the privilege of being selected to provide accessible transport for spectators to attend the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics Games, the Rugby World Cup, the inaugural Invictus Games and the World Athletics and Para Athletics Championships.
“During this very difficult time of Covid 19 pandemic, Anna, along with all the dedicated and highly professional staff of ECT, has also assisted vulnerable people in our communities by delivering emergency food parcels, essential transport including schools, GP appointments, shopping and most recently, transport for vulnerable patients to vaccination centres. The charity has stepped up and made a significant difference to the quality of peoples’ daily lives.”
Patrick added: “Anna has developed a strong and committed team and has led the way in providing high quality, affordable, safe and friendly accessible transport to our vulnerable communities in Ealing, Dorset and Cheshire. The charity has benefitted greatly from the relationships that Anna has successfully built up with our local councils, partners, suppliers and transport authorities over the years.”
In 2016, following recommendations from Patrick and former Commissioner of Transport for London Sir Peter Hendy to the Honours Committee, Anna’s achievements were recognised in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours’ list with an MBE.
New chief executive John Chesters will start at ECT on 24th May, with deputy CEO Becky Casement serving as interim CEO until John’s arrival.
Prior to John’s position at Emmaus Hertfordshire, he worked for a number of years with The Forward Trust (Blue Sky), supporting ex-offenders to find employment and in various operations focused roles. He also knows Ealing very well, having worked as General Manager for ECT Recycling between 2001 and 2006.
Patrick O’Keeffe commented: “We are delighted that John has accepted this key role at ECT. John will bring a wealth of experience to the organisation, including an excellent track record in the charity sector and extensive experience of working with local authorities. We look forward to working with John as he builds and expands on the solid foundations and strong values that have been developed at ECT.”
Anna Whitty commented: “I am delighted that, after a rigorous recruitment process by our Board of Trustees, John Chesters has been appointed to take the reins. John’s CV speaks for itself and from our conversations, it is clear that he really understands the charity and the important work that we do.
“I have every confidence that both his values and his experience will maintain the qualities that have made ECT so special and successful, and that he will guide the team forward with the right mix of care and conviction as the charity takes its next steps towards an equally positive future.”
John Chesters commented: “This is a tremendously exciting opportunity, and I am looking forward to taking on this vital role from Anna. I know ECT very well and have admired the progress and impact it has made throughout her time leading the organisation.
“There have been some exceptionally tough times, including the last year, and for ECT to be in such a great place is testament to Anna’s leadership, as well as the dedication of the staff team, board and everyone else involved. Clearly a hard act to follow, but we are all determined to maintain our support to our communities and to see this grow and improve over the coming years.”