Friends of the Earth appoints new CEO

Press release
Friends of the Earth announces its new Co-CEOs as Miriam Turner and Hugh Knowles
  Published:  17 Nov 2020    |      2 minute read

Environmental campaigning organisation, Friends of the Earth, announces its new Co-CEOs as Miriam Turner and Hugh Knowles today (17 November). This is the first time in the green group’s history that the role has been held as a job share, and that a woman has been at the helm.

Hugh Knowles and Miriam Turner joined Friends of the Earth in 2017 as Directors of Innovation and have taken on the role of interim CEO since Craig Bennett stepped down in February. Miriam and Hugh both hold degrees in ecology and have spent a combined total of over 40 years working on environmental issues.

Prior to their roles at Friends of the Earth, Hugh was Head of Innovation at Forum for the Future, an independent non-profit working globally with business, government, and other organisations to solve sustainability challenges. Miriam ran collaborative innovation at global sustainability leader Interface Inc. She is also a Global Fellow and Trustee of the League of Intrapreneurs, a global movement of changemakers working to transform organisations from the inside out.

The duo were appointed by the Friends of the Earth Board and Trustees following an extensive external recruitment process supported by agency Perrett Laver.

Hugh and Miriam will take up the new role on 11 January 2021 in Friends of the Earth’s 50th year.

Frances Butler, Chair of Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said:

“Friends of the Earth is committed to a green and fair recovery from Covid and to climate and ecological solutions based on climate justice and community empowerment.

“The complexity and urgency of these challenges require innovative leadership and Miriam and Hugh stood out among a strong field of compelling candidates. They have ably shown that CEO job-sharing works, and we are delighted at last to welcome a woman to the post.

“Our collective action in response to the climate, nature and inequality emergencies will be strengthened under their bold and visionary leadership.”

Miriam Turner and Hugh Knowles, Co-CEOs of Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said:

“Friends of the Earth is, at its heart, an inspiring network of people working tirelessly to build a better future – in towns and cities across the UK, and right around the world.

“Friends of the Earth connects people and communities - supporting them to build the fairer, greener world we all want to see. In addressing the climate and ecological crisis we know we can address other crises – polarisation, deep inequality, injustice, and historic failures to provide a better future for all.

“We both passionately believe communities can, and should, be at the heart of the change that is required. It is a huge privilege to take on the leadership of this very special organisation as it comes in to its 50th year.”