Baroness Glenys Thornton announces search for her successor as CEO of the Young Foundation

Date: 21 April 2017

With a formidable track record of confronting inequality, the Young Foundation has spearheaded trailblazing work across the UK and internationally to create insight and innovations which put people at the heart of social change. This is achieved through research, working alongside communities and creating and supporting social innovations.

The Young Foundation came out of the Institute of Community Studies, led by the great sociologist Michael Young. Together we have created and supported over 80 social innovations including Which?, The Open University, Language Line, Social Innovation Exchange, School for Social Entrepreneurs, Uprising, Action for Happiness and the Studio Schools Trust.

Baroness Glenys Thornton became Chief Executive in 2015 and has led the organisation through transition to a position of strength and pivotal influence with a highly successful series of programmes taking place both in the UK and internationally. These combine research with social innovations leading to action based change alongside communities. Current programmes include:

  • Research on MONDRAGON, the largest industrial Co-operative in the world, based in the Basque country.
  • Testing the effectiveness of a Guaranteed Minimum Income to tackle poverty in Barcelona.
  • Developing our community transformation initiatives, working across the UK, including Amplify Northern Ireland and a new programme in Essex.
  • Supporting a range of social innovations including our Young Academy programme tackling educational disadvantage, and Roots Lab, piloting in Beirut, testing out how to create social change driven by young women activists, with FRIDA the Young Feminist Fund, Global Fund for Women and Oxfam.

Baroness Thornton said:

“I became CEO of the Young Foundation in June 2015 when the organisation had been experiencing a degree of turbulence.  I stepped back from my Parliamentary work, political career and as a Young Foundation Trustee, to take on the turnaround of the organisation because I have long been committed to its vision and activities. With the support of some greatly talented colleagues and the YF Board, this has now largely been achieved. 2017 is thus a year of transition for The Young Foundation.

There is new leadership at board level and a highly competent senior team at executive level. The organisation is financially stable and is undertaking innovative and exciting research and project work with a range of partners across the world. I believe it is time for me to return to parliament and frontline politics.  I have therefore asked the Board to start the search for a new Chief Executive. I will continue to lead the organisation until a new CEO can join us.

Being CEO of The Young Foundation is a fantastic job which I have loved. I am so pleased that I had the opportunity to support the organisation through a time of considerable challenge. When I worked for Michael Young 35 years ago I did not expect to return and be able to pay the debt I have always felt to Michael for the great, and life changing experience, of working for the then Institute of Community Studies.

I am very much looking forward to supporting the Chair and Board in the search for the right person to take on the leadership of The Young Foundation and then support settling in the new CEO.”

Dame Julie Mellor, Chair of The Young Foundation said on behalf of the Board:

“Glenys Thornton feels it is now time for her to return to parliament and to frontline politics and has asked the Young Foundation Board to begin the search for her successor.

Glenys was appointed interim CEO to turn around the Young Foundation in June 2015, and this she has succeeded in achieving with the support of a fantastic staff team. The Board are immensely grateful for the energy, talent and leadership that Glenys brought to the organisation at a time of great need.

The Young Foundation now has a strong and redefined sense of purpose, stable finances and the resources to secure our future, a new staff and Board leadership, and a great range of partnerships and relationships with organisations across the UK and the world.

The Young Foundation will be recruiting a new CEO to take on the challenge of building and developing the organisation. The Board is very excited at the prospect of working with a new CEO to write the next chapter in the Young Foundation’s distinguished history at a time when our reputation, resources, skills and networks have a huge role to play.

Glenys will remain in post until the new CEO takes up their post. The Board have asked Glenys to support the new CEO in settling into their new job.

The Board are pleased to announce today that they have appointed the executive search company Prospectus to support the search for a new CEO to replace Glenys Thornton.”


Notes to editors:

  1. For more information please contact: Lucie Russell Head of Communications or call 07931 507873
  1. The Young Foundation is a research and action based institute with a formidable track record of confronting inequalities. Find out more at:
  1. We were founded by the great social scientist and innovator Michael Young and originally called the Institute for Community Studies. In 2005, we merged with the Mutual Aid Centre and became the Young Foundation, in honour of our founder.