The Donkey Sanctuary has appointed Marianne Steele as the charity’s new permanent Chief Executive following a competitive global search to fill the position.

Marianne joined The Donkey Sanctuary in 2010 as Director of Fundraising and Communications, where she oversaw a period of rapid growth, and more recently she stepped into the role of acting CEO.

“She successfully steered the charity away from any negative impact of the Covid pandemic while moving forward to develop a new five-year organisational strategy,” said a charity spokesman.

The Donkey Sanctuary is the world’s largest equine welfare charity. It runs 10 sanctuaries around the UK and Europe, giving lifelong care to more than 7,000 donkeys and mules.

The charity operates programmes worldwide for animals working in agriculture, industry and transportation, and those used in the production of meat and skin.

“I am confident that in Marianne we have found an outstanding leader who is the right match for our charity,” said Paul Lunn, Chair of Trustees.

“Her passion, commitment and vision for The Donkey Sanctuary won through and I believe, under her guidance, we can move forward with a clear sense of purpose.”

With a brief to launch the charity’s new organisational strategy early next year, Marianne added: “I am delighted to lead The Donkey Sanctuary on the next stage of its journey.

“For five decades the charity has been a powerful and enduring force for good. Driven by an extraordinary heritage of scientific and veterinary excellence to make the world a better place for both donkeys and the communities who depend on them.

“It’s a privilege to lead our cause and to serve the phenomenal staff, volunteers and partners who help deliver it.”

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