GMCVO announces new CEO and repositioning of core business

Following a strategic review, GMCVO announced today an upcoming change in leadership and organisational focus.

As a result of the repositioning, GMCVO will lose two senior posts and go forward under new leadership. The current Chief Executive Alex Whinnom will be replaced later this summer by new Chief Executive John Hannen, and Gary Millar in a new role, Chief Operating Officer.

Following the review, GMCVO has also decided to take the bold step of repositioning its core business from VCSE representation to enabling practical change.

This will take the form of investment in social enterprises, community business and community-owned assets, aiming to reach people and places who are economically marginalised and to work with those who share our aims. We will continue to work with commissioners and funders as an accountable body to secure resource for local VCSE organisations and will continue to run the St Thomas Centre in Ardwick.

Stepping down after eighteen years in the position, outgoing Chief Executive Alex Whinnom said:

“I am really proud of GMCVO, our work, partnerships, and most of all the team of people we have brought together. I am confident I am leaving the organisation in the best possible hands with John and Gary. Their skills and connections are complementary and are an excellent fit for our new focus.”

“We want to take this opportunity to thank all our partners, funders, members and friends for your support and loyalty. We hope you will understand our decisions, and give your support to the new leadership.”

John Hannen will take on the position of Chief Executive. John is one of GMCVO’s longest serving members of staff, having been at the organisation in various roles for 19 years. John’s most recent role was as Programme Manager for Ambition for Ageing, leading the £10.2 million programme aimed at creating more age-friendly places in our city region and empowering people across Greater Manchester to live fulfilling lives as they age. John said:

“The operating environment we are working in has changed remarkably over the past few years, will continue to change further and as a result so must we. The pandemic has also revealed deep fractures in society caused by long standing economic inequalities. Right now, a focus on addressing economic inequality through investment, support, connection and insight is needed for GMCVO and Greater Manchester’s communities more widely.”

Gary Millar will take on the position of Chief Operating Officer, Gary joined GMCVO in 2017 to lead the Social Investment team who provide social investment, training, networking and support to the social enterprises, trading charities and community businesses in Greater Manchester. During his time at GMCVO, he has led on securing and disseminating over £3 million of investment into the sector. Gary said:

“GMCVO has a long history of understanding and working with local communities, through both partnership working and by managing and distributing funds and social investment across the sector. We want to strengthen our commitment to tackling inequalities and empowering the most marginalised within our communities, which I know our growing portfolio of practical, sustainable economic development and inclusion projects will serve to support.”

The appointments and repositioning were made following a strategic review of the organisation. We have been working towards a stronger focus on creating economic inclusion, along with making ourselves financially independent of public subsidy, for ten years.

Acting Chair Richard Dyson said: “GMCVO has recently been through a challenging period following the loss of a critical grant providing strategic funding.  Our strategic review alongside highlighted the urgency of scaling up our practical work to meet rising needs and to respond to new opportunities which has required us to accelerate this change. The Board fully supports the repositioning and the management changes which will enable us to facilitate more community empowerment and a solutions focus.”

Following the change in leadership, GMCVO will continue to review the situation over the next eighteen months and will work with the existing membership on any proposed changes to governance.

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