Press Story

Cross-bench peer to support leading think tank as it charts a course for progressive policy beyond the election

Lord Victor Adebowale CBE has been appointed as new chair of the trustees of IPPR, the UK’s leading progressive think tank.

Lord Adebowale has led numerous organisations influencing policy, prompting new thinking and delivering social change in the UK. He is currently chair of the NHS Confederation, non-executive director of the Co-Operative Group, and chair of Social Enterprise UK, among other roles.

He became a crossbench peer in 2001, among the first group of ‘people’s peers’. He has previously served as CEO of Turning Point, a social enterprise designing and delivering health and social care services, and of Centrepoint, the leading youth homelessness charity. He has also served as non-executive director of NHS England and has chaired a series of commissioned reports into policing, employment, mental health, housing and fairness.

He was elected to the new role at IPPR by fellow trustees. He takes over from Kirsty McNeill, a Save the Children executive director and IPPR trustee, who stepped up as interim chair last summer when the late Jess Search resigned because of ill health.

His appointment, in the run-up to the general election, comes as IPPR prepares for a potentially shifting political landscape and the accompanying opportunities and challenges ahead.

The organisation has recently appointed Professor Ashwin Kumar, who was formerly chief economist at JRF and a government economic advisor, as its new director of research and policy. It is also expanding its research, with new programmes of work on the future of progressive politics and on the intersection of international and domestic policy.

Lord Adebowale, newly elected chair of IPPR trustees, said:

"People change policy. They can transform ideas into practical positive outcomes for individuals and communities. So I'm proud to become IPPR's new chair at such an extraordinary time for both UK and global politics.

“This dedicated team will offer substantial new visions for the future of the UK. I will both lead and support them to connect meaningfully with the public, opinion formers, policymakers and politicians of all parties and none. More importantly I will help ensure their impact.”

Carys Roberts, executive director of IPPR, said:

“I’m delighted that Victor Adebowale has agreed to take on this important role in a crucial year for politics in the UK, and to help IPPR ensure it can contribute significantly to policymaking in the years ahead.

“It’s exciting that such a dynamic contributor to our civil society is prepared to lead our Board at this pivotal moment both for IPPR, and for progressive policy making in the UK.

“I’d also like to thank Kirsty McNeill for stepping up and so ably leading IPPR’s board and supporting its staff when Jess Search was so suddenly taken from us.”

Kirsty McNeill, outgoing interim chair, said:

"I’m very pleased we have found such an outstanding figure to fill the gap left by Jess Search. I have great confidence in IPPR’s leadership and team, and am glad to be able to hand over the chair to someone so capable – a fact that gives me great confidence for IPPR’s future.”



David Wastell, IPPR Head of News and Communications: 07921 403651 /


  1. Lord Victor Adebowale was awarded a CBE for services to the unemployed and homeless people and became a crossbench peer in 2001.
  2. IPPR is governed by its board of trustees, currently 11-strong. Full details are at
  3. IPPR (the Institute for Public Policy Research) is an independent charity working towards a fairer, greener, and more prosperous society. We are researchers, communicators, and policy experts creating tangible progressive change, and turning bold ideas into common sense realities. Working across the UK, IPPR, IPPR North, and IPPR Scotland are deeply connected to the people of our nations and regions, and the issues our communities face. We have helped shape national conversations and progressive policy change for more than 30 years. From making the early case for the minimum wage and tackling regional inequality, to proposing a windfall tax on energy companies, IPPR’s research and policy work has put forward practical solutions for the crises facing society.