Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation appoint new chief executive

Sarah Woolnough has been appointed the new chief executive of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation.

Sarah will take over on December 2020 from current Chief Executive, Kay Boycott, who moves to a long-planned portfolio career.

Sarah joins from Cancer Research UK, where she is Executive Director of Policy and Information, as well as serving as a Trustee of MQ: Transforming Mental Health and the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI). She took a secondment to the Department of Health to co-write the National Cancer Strategy and was recently voted the most effective charity sector communicator in the PR Week Power Book. 

Sarah said: “It’s an honour to be appointed CEO of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation.  Respiratory health is a cause I care deeply about, and it’s been inspiring to see the extraordinary lengths that they’ve gone to in supporting people with lung conditions over many years, and most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It will be a real privilege to join the charity at such a crucial time, and I look forward to being part of a team committed to making real change for the 12 million people in the UK affected by lung disease.”

Kay Boycott said: “It’s been an absolute privilege to have served people with lung disease as the first Chief Executive of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, and to have led Asthma UK before that.  I’m extremely proud of what we’ve managed to achieve together, including proving the value of the merger.  Leaving such a dedicated and committed team will be a big wrench, but I’m thrilled to be handing over to a leader of Sarah’s calibre.”

Baroness Tessa Blackstone, Chair of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation said: “I am delighted to welcome Sarah to the charity and greatly look forward to working with her. With respiratory disease never higher on the national agenda, she joins us at an opportune time to deliver even more for people with lung conditions.” 

In response to the COVID pandemic the charities recently launched a Post-COVID online HUB, and dedicated helpline to support people after COVID.