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Preparing for independence and the future of the Start Network

News Article

On 30th November the Start Network Board of Trustees was informed of Sean Lowrie’s intention to leave the Start Network in mid-2019. Mr. Lowrie has been the Director of the Start Network since its inception in 2010, facilitating its growth in scale and ambition to over 40 members from 15 countries now involved and a focus on changing the global humanitarian system.

At the time, he told the Board of Trustees: “The Start Network is at an exciting moment. Over the past eight years, I have led the emergence of the Network, through highs and lows and I feel confident that the organization is moving into 2019 in an excellent position. It is positioned at the forefront of improving humanitarian action, its finances and donor support are better than ever, it is becoming an independent organization after a successful incubation by Save the Children, and its portfolio of products and initiatives is exciting. The Team is dynamic, intelligent, kind and humble. The membership is committed to delivering our vision. I feel honoured to have worked with so many remarkable people over these years, who are committed to leading the change needed in the global aid system. This is the right moment to hand over to someone with fresh ideas and energy and who can take the Network to the next level.”

The Start Network Board is committed to effectively managing this period of transformation, using limited resources in the best possible way, and furthering the Network’s strategic objectives in the humanitarian industry at large.  Leadership transitions in new organizations can be vulnerable to corporate memory loss, and a loss of strategic momentum.  Consequently, the Start Network Board and Start Network’s outgoing host organization Save the Children UK have agreed a shift in Mr. Lowrie’s focus over his remaining months in the organization to documenting the Network’s journey to date and putting forward his vision for the Network’s future.

Both the Board and the host organization agree that this shift in the CEO’s focus will best advance the Network’s purpose and mission.  We believe that the best balance between the work on spin-off and the need to reflect about achievements and challenges of the Start Network and its role in the wider humanitarian system would be achieved by an enhanced clarity of the organization going forward.

Therefore, with effect from 9 April 2019 

  • Mr Sean Lowrie, CEO, will focus his activities until the end of June entirely on writing the Start Network chronicles since its beginning and the role of the network in the wider humanitarian system. 
  • Mrs Catherine Sneath, Chief of Staff, will lead the operative process of spinning off the Start Network, take over all operative tasks and line manage the entire Start Team. 

Christof Gabriel Maetze, Chair of the Start Network Board said: “I am really pleased with the solution going forward as this permits renewed focus on both spin-off as well as institutional memory and the strategic future of the Start Network. Both elements are important for the development of the Network. I would like to thank Catherine and Sean for their support and dedication. A special thank you to our current host SCUK for their great commitment to Start’s independence“. 

Keep reading:

  • by Helen James