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Christina Bennett appointed as new chief executive of Start Network

  • by Helen James
  • 22 Jul 19

Christina Bennett


News Article

Start Network has appointed Christina Bennett, currently Head of the Humanitarian Policy Group at the Overseas Development Institute, as its new CEO.

Christina will join Suzanne Lyne, the newly-appointed chief financial operations officer, on the organisation’s executive team in September. The two new senior appointments have been made following the departure of founder-director Sean Lowrie in June, and after the establishment of Start Network as a new charity, independent from previous host organisation, Save the Children UK.


Christina Bennett appointed CEO of Start Network

At the Humanitarian Policy Group, Christina has been leading research into local humanitarian action, driving policy initiatives related to counter-terrorism, humanitarian reform, refugee livelihoods and private finance, and was the author of Time to Let go: Remaking Humanitarian Action for the Modern Era. Christina has 20 years of experience in humanitarian policy and practice and prior to joining HPG, Christina was the Chief of Policy Analysis and Innovation at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).  Christina is a frequent writer and speaker on conflict and humanitarian aid.  Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Reuters, BBC World Service, TIME, The Economist Intelligence Unit, The New Humanitarian (formerly IRIN) and Devex.

Commenting Christina Bennett said: “Humanitarian action needs new models, new mechanisms and new centres of gravity.  And I truly believe that the Start Network will be a leader in that transformation.  I am excited to work with the Start Network to drive that change.  Now is also a pivotal moment for Start as an organisation.  I’ve been watching and admiring its work for some time and am thrilled to help Start Network mature, evolve and fully realise its independence.  I look forward to speaking to as many people as possible in my first few weeks to understand where Start has come from, where we are now, and where we can get to together.”

Suzanne Lyne has worked for 20 years across a range of key sectors including corporate, private, commercial, public, and SME business group, first starting her career in banking, later moving into the SMEs and the education sector. She has a wealth of experience as a senior manager in new enterprises and businesses operating at critical times of change and transformation, and through this, she has gained valuable experience at both a strategic and operational level.

On her appointment Suzanne Lyne said: “I am delighted to be joining the Start Network at this exciting time in its evolution and growth. I am inspired by the vision and values that drive the work of the Start Network and its bold aims to improve the Humanitarian Aid System; I am excited to work with the Start Team, to lead its operational and financial development to ensure that it confidently supports and reflects the Network’s important objectives. I am really looking forward to being a part of the Start Team and helping to lead the organisation through the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.”

Christof Gabriel Maetze, Chair of the Start Network Board of Trustees, said: “On behalf of the entire Board I am delighted to welcome Christina Bennett and Suzanne Lyne to Start Network. Christina and Suzanne join us at a crucial moment, and we have no doubt that with their impressive track records of strategic vision and leadership, both will lead the network effectively to its next phase. I very much look forward to working with them both.”

Christina Bennett will join the Start Network on the 25 September 2019. Suzanne Lyne will join on 2 September 2019.

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  • by Helen James