Chief Executive and Senior Leadership Team

Vanessa Harwood-Whitcher, Chief Executive

Vanessa has worked as part of IOSH’s Senior Leadership team since 2017, leading the Professional Services Directorate. In August 2021, she became IOSH’s Chief Executive and is responsible for the implementation of IOSH’s WORK 2022 strategy as well as supporting the development and of its successor with IOSH’s Board of Trustees. Vanessa joined IOSH following senior roles in education and chartered professional bodies. She holds an MBA from Loughborough University.

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Richard Orton, Director of Strategy and Business Development

Richard leads IOSH activities with policy-makers, regulators and investors and businesses globally, helping shape sustainable strategies and cultures that have the safety, health and wellbeing of people and society at their core. He is an Executive Director of IOSH Services Ltd, the trading subsidiary of the charity, a Director of the global Center for Safety and Health Sustainability (CSHS) and of the UK Occupational Safety & Health Consultants Register (OSHCR), and a Trustee of Safety4Good. Richard joined IOSH in 2014, bringing 20 years of leadership experience from the retail, distribution and third sectors. He holds an MBA, is a Member of the Institute of Directors (MIoD), a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (FCIM) and a Chartered Marketer (CMkr).

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Vicky Hilpert, Chief Operating Officer

Vicky leads the Central Operations Directorate which brings the enabling functions together under single leadership, to provide the income generating (strategic) Directorates with a cohesive service provision. Vicky joined IOSH in November 2017 as Director of Finance and Governance and transitioned as part of a restructure of the senior team to Chief Operating Officer in March 2021. Vicky came to IOSH with 19 years of experience across the commercial, public and third sectors, she is a Chartered Management Accountant who spent the early part of her career working in financial management roles before transitioning to undertake senior leadership roles. Before joining IOSH, she had Board-level exposure within NHS Commissioning organisations, where she worked as both Director and Deputy Director of Finance. She has a strong focus on continuous improvement and has undertaken a number of large-scale change programmes. Her knowledge of the commercial sector comes from positions held in FTSE 100s and SMEs. Her varied knowledge of both sectors and scale of organisations enables her to design change programmes to meet the individual needs of the organisations she works within.

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Ruth Lake, Interim Director of Professional Services

Ruth joins as Interim Director of Professional Services, having worked in and with, professional bodies for over 20 years including CIPD, RICS, ICAEW, and LI. Ruth was previously Project Development Manager at Landscape Institute, managing key strategic projects including developing a new Online CPD system, a strategic partnership with other professional bodies focused on high street regeneration and establishing a new competency framework and entry standards for membership. Outside of that she has done freelance projects for ACCA, ICAEW and 2 content agencies working with professional bodies - We Are Sunday and Think Publishing and worked for a content agency supporting BACP, AAT, CMI, CIPR, STEP, ACT and some learned societies in developing their content strategies and building their digital and print communication portfolios. She also worked at ICAEW for 9 months reviewing their membership communication strategy and recommending strategic change and prior to that spent 5 years at RICS and 8 years at CIPD running their publishing arms - print and digital.

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