David Bull


A successful, pioneering and high profile leader in the charity world, David has been a CEO for 27 years, working in the fields of development, human rights, education and environment.


A successful, pioneering and high profile leader in the charity world, David has been a CEO for 27 years, leading 4 organisations through rapid and substantial growth, driving change in the fields of development, human rights, education and environment. He has visited more than 55 countries, including humanitarian emergencies, such as Darfur, post-tsunami Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Haiti, Macedonia, Kosovo, Uganda, Tanzania, Bosnia, Botswana, South Africa, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Kenya, Laos, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Thailand, Cambodia, Zambia and Jordan.

He has engaged with many business leaders and high profile figures through his work promoting charity/corporate partnerships and corporate social responsibility. He can speak on leadership and motivation, organizational culture, corporate social responsibility, international development and human rights, as well as his travels and experiences.

Now Chief Executive of UNICEF UK and formerly Director of Amnesty International UK, David started out in an Oxford food co-operative that pioneered fair-trade coffee and devoted its profits to research and education on international development.

In 1979, David moved to Oxfam’s Public Affairs Unit where he was one of three staff who built the policy, research and lobbying function for which Oxfam is now renowned. During his time there he wrote the book "A Growing Problem: Pesticides and the Third World Poor", highlighting the export of hazardous chemicals and misleading industry marketing practices. His work led to the adoption of a binding international Convention governing the trade in hazardous agricultural chemicals. He lobbied successfully at the UN for international aid to Cambodia after the genocide of the late ‘70s.

In 1984, David moved to Kenya to become Executive Director of the Environment Liaison Centre in Nairobi. ELC has been at the forefront of work for environmentally sustainable development since the first Earth Summit in 1974, long before such ideas were fashionable.

Back in the UK in 1987, David was General Secretary of World University Service, an organization that works with war torn communities across Africa and the Middle East to rebuild lives through education. In 1990 he made the move to Amnesty International as their UK director. Amnesty International is the world’s leading international human rights organization. By 1999 Amnesty UK had over 145,000 members, 320 local groups, 1000 affiliated organisations and a budget of over £11million.

David was AIUK’s chief spokesperson to media and government, and personally led a £4m capital fundraising appeal to purchase and equip a new Human Rights Centre in London. During his time as Director, AIUK’s membership and income more than doubled, with income growth averaging 15% per annum. He also played an important policy role in the International AI movement, chairing key meetings of the International Council, and took part in a high-level mission to Tanzania on policy towards refugees from the Great Lakes conflict in Rwanda, Burundi and Zaire, and also visited Gaza and the West Bank.

From 1999 to the present, David has been the UK Executive Director of UNICEF. UNICEF UK is one of the top 40 UK fundraising charities. It supports UNICEF’s emergency, health, education, protection and development work for children in 190 countries. UNICEF UK’s funding raised has grown from £13m in 1998 to nearly £70m in 2010.

UNICEF UK is high profile and influential in UK policy on children, hitting the headlines in 2007 with a report placing the UK bottom of the league of industrialized countries on measures of child wellbeing. Current campaigns focus on children and AIDS, and the impact of climate change on children. It is a respected, influential, successful and innovative organization with a strong, committed and empowering culture, numerous high profile supporters and Ambassadors, and a leader in developing business partnerships with leading companies, including British Airways, Sheraton Hotels, BT, Barclays Bank, FTSE, Manchester United and many others.

David, along with his daughter Katy, completed the Karma Enduro in 2009. A 2000 km drive through Southern India’s most challenging terrain in an Ambassador car to raise money for HIV/AID’s prevention for young people in Southern India.

He is a truly accomplished speaker on the myriad of subjects his career has encompassed and is one of the most respected commentators in the country on humanitarian affairs.



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