New Chief Executive appointed

We are pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees has appointed Helen Simmons as our new Chief Executive.

9 December 2021


We are pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees of St Christopher’s has appointed Helen Simmons as our new Chief Executive.

Helen joins us from Nightingale Hammerson, where she has been Chief Executive for the past eight years.

“I am thrilled to be joining St Christopher’s Hospice, an organisation I have long admired who are making a real difference to end of life and palliative care. 
“The timing now feels right to pursue a new challenge, and with both my personal and professional ambitions aligning closely with those of the hospice, I know that together we will continue to advance their ground-breaking and imaginative work in the local community and far beyond.” 

Helen Simmons

Helen will take up her new position in the first half of 2022 (date to be confirmed).

In the interim, with Shaun O’Leary stepping down at the end of the year, Heather Richardson has agreed to become interim CEO from 1 January, until Helen starts her new role.

Neil Goulden, Chair of Trustees at St Christopher’s, said “We are delighted to welcome Helen to St Christopher’s, and very much look forward to working with her to deliver our ambitious plans for the charity locally, nationally and internationally over the coming years. Helen will be an instrumental part of developing our future strategy, and we feel very lucky to have someone with her remarkable experience and expertise filling the shoes left by Heather and Shaun. 

“We are also delighted that Heather is keen to stay on at St Christopher’s, and we wish Shaun every success and happiness in his future endeavours. Our heartfelt thanks go out to him and Heather for their valued contribution to the charity and wider hospice movement over the last eight years.” 

Shaun and Heather
Shaun O’Leary and Heather Richardson

Helen qualified as a chartered accountant and has had a long and successful career in the charity sector, holding director of finance roles at Crisis, The Multiple Sclerosis Society, Jewish Care and the Diocese of (North) London, before becoming CEO at Nightingale Hammerson in 2013. 

Nightingale Hammerson is a high quality provider of residential and nursing care to the Jewish community with homes in Clapham and Hampstead.  During her tenure as CEO, Nightingale Hammerson has launched a number of innovative projects around elderly care, education and training, dementia care, intergenerational projects and partnership working (Winter Step Down Unit) with the NHS. 

Nightingale Hammerson is now rated Outstanding (from Good) by the CQC. As well as playing an active role as a trustee on the NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) Board, Helen has sat on the Care England Board for seven years (2013-20).

9 December 2021


More from Connections