Dogs Trust CEO to Step Down

Clarissa Baldwin OBE to retire as Dogs Trust CEO after 40 years at the charity

After forty years at Dogs Trust, Chief Executive Clarissa Baldwin OBE has announced she will be retiring from her role at the end of October 2014.

Her passion, dedication and determination to improve dog welfare and the rehoming of stray and abandoned dogs amounts to an incredible legacy, and today Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity.

During her tenure Clarissa developed and launched the charity’s iconic and instantly recognisable slogan ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ which has just reached its thirty fifth year milestone and remains a highly relevant and key marketing message for the charity.

Today, the charity cares for around 16,000 dogs a year and has a staff of more than 800. Under Clarissa’s leadership 18 state of the art and innovative rehoming centres in the UK and Dublin have been developed enabling the charity to save the lives of over 100,000 dogs. Through her vision, the charity is now active in ten countries around the world and Dogs Trust has moved from being just a rehoming charity, to one that also works within the community and alongside the Government to deal with a range of animal welfare issues in society.

Clarissa Baldwin OBE comments:

“It is with a very heavy heart that I have decided to pass on “the lead”, but I know everyone at the charity and our dog loving supporters will continue to work tirelessly for improvements in life for our four legged friends.

I joined Dogs Trust in 1974 as Head of Public Relations for a six month contract and ending up staying for forty years! It has been such a very great privilege to have held this role for such a long time and to have been entrusted with the charity’s growth and development.

My aim has always been to ensure that all dogs, regardless of breed, have access to loving homes and are treated fairly and humanely. I hope that we can still work towards a day where all dogs will be free from the threat of unnecessary destruction. I am extremely proud of the many talented and passionate people I have worked with over the years who continue to strive towards this end goal.”

As a well-respected and central figure within the animal welfare community, Clarissa is involved with many other organisations, including both the UK & International Greyhound Forums, the International Companion Animal Welfare Conference, the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes, the Welfare Committee of the Pet Plan Charitable Trust and the Pet Advertising Advisory Group. She is also very much involved in improving the model conditions for the inspection of dog breeding establishments and is an advisor to ministers at DEFRA. Clarissa has been heavily involved in all major animal welfare legislation over the last 40 years.

In 2003 Clarissa was rewarded for her services to dog welfare by receiving the OBE from Her Majesty the Queen

Clarissa will be succeeded by current Deputy Chief Executive and Marketing Director Adrian Burder. Adrian has played an instrumental role at the charity for the past 20 years and was the unanimous choice for the position by the charity’s Trustees.

Since joining Dogs Trust in 1994 Adrian has played a central part in increasing the charity’s annual income from just over £3 million to over £75 million a year and successfully manages brand recognition including the charity’s name change from the National Canine Defence League.

Dogs Trust continues to go from strength to strength and 2014 will also see the creation of a new directorship at the charity as it steps up its already significant Campaigns work. David Cowdrey will join the charity as Campaigns Director in April from his current role of Head of Communications at the RSPCA.

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