David Cook, the Chief Executive Officer of international animal welfare charity The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth, Devon, has announced his decision to retire from the position of CEO early next summer.
Said Cook: “It is difficult for me to believe that I will be 70 next year and I advised the Chair of Trustees, Stuart Reid, some time ago, that I would like to hand over the reins of this fantastic charity before I reach that milestone age.
“It has been a privilege to be Chief Executive and I have enjoyed every moment of working with such a wonderful team of trustees, staff, volunteers…and of course, the donkeys. I never thought that, on the fateful day in 1987 when I first visited the Sanctuary, my life would be changed, but change it did. I was a supporter then, I am a supporter now, and, fingers crossed, I will be a supporter for many more years to come!”
Responding to news of Cook’s decision, Professor Stuart Reid, Chair of the Trustees, commented: “David has made an enormous impact on the charity in his eight years as Chief Executive and he will be sorely missed. During his time as CEO he has overseen the incorporation of our Donkey Assisted Therapy work into the main work of the Sanctuary, he developed a new, clear and motivating strategic plan and, ultimately, has ensured that we are ever more able to support those donkeys most in need, together with the people who depend upon them.
“We have also seen expansion of our overseas activities, and a broadening and strengthening of our supporter base in a way few would have imagined possible. Indeed, David’s long term commitment to donkeys, combined with his astute business skills, has led us to a position where we are seen as a charity that makes real impact in a real world. He has built on the vision of the Sanctuary’s founder, Dr Elisabeth Svendsen, and in doing so has created a legacy of his own and one in which we can all rejoice.
“We are excited by the next stage of The Donkey Sanctuary’s development. We are constructing a new state of the art veterinary hospital at one of our farms and re-developing our Sidmouth Sanctuary to enable our visitors to learn about and experience our work around the world. I am delighted that David is happy to remain as Chief Executive until we have his successor in place. David truly has always put the donkeys and those who depend on them, first, second and third and I know that he will continue to do so in his retirement. We owe him a huge debt of gratitude and he retires with our thanks and very best wishes.”
Recruitment for a replacement Chief Executive will begin immediately and the trustees will be assisted by recruitment consultants, Odgers Berndtson.