New Chief Executive for Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex

A highly experienced leader and Chief Executive with 25 years’ experience in the health and international aid and development sectors helping people in need – including those living in some of the world’s most troubled hotspots – will be taking over as the new Chief Executive of Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (AAKSS).

An honours graduate in history and economics at Glasgow University, David Welch pursued a successful early career in retail management before switching track to pursue international aid and development work including in conflict-torn countries such as Angola, Rwanda and Bosnia. David then led a number of health-related charities in his native Scotland and, most recently, the north of England.

Currently Chief Executive of Leeds Cares, a multi-million pound charity supporting the health and wellbeing of the wider community in partnership with one of the largest and most successful NHS Trusts in the country – Leeds Teaching Hospitals – David will be relocating to the South East and starting his new role with AAKSS on 1 August.

AAKSS operates 24/7 and serves the 4.7m residents of Kent, Surrey and Sussex, as well as the huge number of people that travel through the area on business or pleasure each year.

“I know from my current role the vital and life-saving difference that can be made by rapid response to trauma and medical emergency and providing the emergency medical support patients need. I am incredibly excited about the opportunity to lead and develop Air Ambulance Kent Surrey and Sussex, an inspirational organisation with an excellent reputation and an incredible team of staff and volunteers who together through their experience, hard work and commitment make such a positive impact on the lives of their patients,” he said.

“The frontline crews at AAKSS are recognised as among the very best and most innovative in the country – if not the world – and they are backed by a first-rate wider staff team, some 200 volunteers and an incredibly supportive and visionary Chair and Board of Trustees.’’

“I am looking forward to working with this amazing team to build on what has been achieved to date, and to driving the development of the organisation forward, working collaboratively with all our partners and stakeholders including in the ambulance, healthcare and academic sectors.”

David will take over from Michael Docherty, who has been the charity’s interim Chief Executive since August 2018 and will now return to the Board as a Trustee.

Dr Helen Bowcock, Chair of Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex, said: “David was the outstanding candidate to become our new CEO. He brings a wealth of leadership experience having already served for some years as a chief executive in the health and charity sectors with a strong track record of successful income generation and innovation.

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming him to the South East to lead AAKSS in this next exciting stage of the organisation’s development. We particularly value his experience of working in collaboration with NHS partners and of developing philanthropic support.

“The Trustees are immensely grateful to Michael Docherty who has served as Interim CEO. He has provided exemplary leadership and has enabled us to attract the best possible candidate as permanent CEO.”

David is a Council Member of the Association of NHS Charities, a member of the Institute of Fundraising, a former Rotary Club Founder Secretary and President and former Chair of the National Association of Hospice Fundraisers. Outside of work he enjoys running, cycling, football and sport in general, as well as spending time with family and friends, travelling and enjoying good food in local cafés, restaurants and the occasional local pub.

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