Headshot of Lord Simon StevensProf Sir Leszek Borysiewicz

His passion for cancer research has consistently shone through and he’s remained a passionate advocate of ensuring that at least 80p in every £1 donated to the charity is available to beat cancer.

Cancer Research UK has achieved several key research breakthroughs during Professor Borysiewicz’s time as Chair. This includes proving that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was cutting cases of cervical cancer by nearly 90%, with Borysiewicz involved in Europe’s first trial of a HPV therapeutic vaccine more than 20 years earlier.

“I am proud of the work that Cancer Research UK has achieved during my time as Chair and look forward to furthering this progress in my last seven months in the role,” said Borysiewicz.

“I am delighted to be handing over to Simon. He has shown significant leadership skills throughout his career and I know how passionate he is about the power of research and its role in saving lives.”

Lord Stevens has worked in the health sector for more than three decades, initially joining the NHS in 1988 and most recently serving as the chief executive of NHS England across a seven-year tenure.

His career has also spanned roles in international health care in the public and private sectors, and at the Department of Health and 10 Downing Street. Lord Stevens became an independent crossbench member of the House of Lords in July 2021 and will remain so upon joining Cancer Research UK.

He was appointed as Borysiewicz’s successor following an open and transparent external recruitment process over several months.

“Having worked alongside Cancer Research UK over a number of years, I’ve long admired the charity’s exceptional leadership in advancing the frontiers of cancer science and care,” said Lord Stevens.

“My family – like so many others – has been touched by cancer, and we’ve seen first-hand the amazing progress in modern cancer therapies.

“It’ll therefore be a privilege as incoming Chair of the Council of Trustees to help support Cancer Research UK’s inspirational scientists, clinicians, staff and volunteers as the organisation delivers its new strategy for the coming decade.”

Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “On behalf of the Trustees, staff, volunteers and supporters of the charity, I would like to share my gratitude for the outstanding contribution that Sir Leszek has made during his tenure and for the incredible personal support and encouragement he has given to me and many of the team at Cancer Research UK.

“We look forward to welcoming Simon to Cancer Research UK and working with him to implement our exciting new strategy.”

All Trustee roles at Cancer Research UK are unremunerated.

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