Friday 18 January 2019: Sue Wilkinson MBE, Chief Executive of The Reading Agency, has announced today that she will be retiring in July 2019.
Sue Wilkinson has led The Reading Agency since January 2014. Highlights of her five-year tenure include a £2 million award from the Big Lottery Fund for Reading Friends, a UK-wide programme that tackles loneliness through reading; a new partnership with the Welsh Government to deliver Reading Well in Wales; and an extraordinary gift of three years of funding for the Quick Reads initiative for emerging adult readers, from bestselling author Jojo Moyes.
Wilkinson has also prioritised evaluation of the impact of reading programmes. Between 2014 and 2017 The Reading Agency led an innovative, collaborative project, funded by the Peter Sowerby Foundation, to produce a reading outcomes framework for use across the sector. In 2018, the charity commissioned a new report from think tank Demos, which found significant evidence to show that reading can tackle some of the UK's biggest societal challenges. In 2019 they will work with an external research partner to undertake a large-scale impact evaluation of the Summer Reading Challenge, funded by Arts Council England.
Wilkinson said: "It has been a great privilege to lead this organisation and to work with so many talented and committed members of staff, trustees, funders and partners, all of whom share The Reading Agency's vision for a world where everyone is reading their way to a better life. Developing our business model and our life-changing reading programmes over the last five years has been challenging, exciting and hugely satisfying. I look forward to seeing all the brilliant work I know The Reading Agency will do in the future."
Matthew Littleford, Chair of The Reading Agency, will be appointing a consultancy to recruit a new Chief Executive. He said: "Thanks to Sue's commitment and strong leadership The Reading Agency has achieved fantastic things during the last five years. She has generated new strategic partnerships, raised our profile, and ensured we are in a financially sustainable position. I would like to say thank you on behalf of the board for everything she has achieved and look forward to recruiting a successor who can build on her accomplishments."
Read Sue Wilkinson's personal reflections on her time as our Chief Executive
Find out more about The Reading Agency's work via our Programmes page
Read more about The Reading Agency's achievements and aims via our Impact page