New Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Alzheimer’s Society

As the largest UK charity in its area, Alzheimer’s Society is a vital source of support and a powerful force for change for everyone living with dementia. The organisation has ambitious goals, bolstered by a strong financial position, a highly capable executive team, and amazingly engaged supporters. The charity’s ambitions are reflected in its new strategy ‘Help and Hope’. Already, the scale of its activity is increasing significantly. In 2021/22, it raised a record £92.1 million in fundraising income, its services were used more than four million times, and its campaigns were supported by over 135,000 people. The Society was named in The Sunday Times Best Places to Work 2023.
Reporting to the Chief Executive, the new CFO will be a vital part of the Society’s Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and an important member of the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee. Working closely with the Board of Trustees, they will oversee the financial management of this £116.5 (and growing) turnover organisation, as well as the effectiveness of its wider corporate resources.
We were asked to undertake an extensive search looking for qualified accountants with a significant track record of successful financial leadership gained within the context of a customer-driven organisation with a turnover of at least £70 million. Candidates were considered from across the private, public and voluntary sectors.
The appointed candidate was Emma Hillyard, former Chief Financial Officer of Waterstones. Emma was born in Uganda, but brought up in England and France. She read Mathematics at the University of Bath before undertaking a volunteering assignment in Malawi. After completing her CIMA qualification, she joined Thames Valley Police and then Oxfam GB. In 2014, she was made Oxfam’s Acting Head of UK Finance. She spent a period as Group Financial Controller of the Order of St John Care Trust, before becoming Finance Director of Blackwell’s, the iconic Oxford-based bookseller. In 2022, she was intimately involved in the sale of Blackwell’s to Waterstones.
Speaking of her appointment, Emma commented:
"I’m delighted to be joining the Alzheimer’s Society at this exciting time in its journey and seeing the wide-reaching impact it is having for those living with dementia. Reflecting on my career to date, and what motivates me, the type of organisation I work for is very important; what it delivers, its culture and its values, and how it treats its people. That’s why I am so pleased to become part of such a purpose-driven organisation. Through the recruitment process, I’ve found everyone I’ve met to be authentic and focused on delivering the best outcomes for those they work with. They are an amazing group of people. I’m looking forward to playing my part helping drive forward the ambitious agenda, as dementia affects more and more of us, but also ensuring that every pound donated is spent wisely. It’s my absolute pleasure to be joining the team."

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