Restless Development CEO Nik Hartley OBE to step down

26 Apr 17

Nik Hartley CEO

Nik Hartley CEO

After seven years leading Restless Development as CEO and almost two decades working at the agency, Nik Hartley has announced he will be stepping down in March 2018. Nik said:

“For almost 20 years I have had the privilege to work with tens of thousands of young people across the globe who transformed the way the world’s biggest challenges have been taken on. What started as a tiny but brilliant concept with some unpaid staff working out of a converted bathroom, has grown into a truly global movement of young leaders - one that has challenged the status quo by putting the leadership of young people at the heart of development. I have been privileged to have been a part of this journey.

“After much consideration, I have decided that it is time to focus on new adventures with my young family."

“This is an exciting moment, not just for me, but for the awe-inspiring Restless Development. In my time we have been unafraid to challenge the way development is being done, urging governments and aid agencies to recognise the need to transfer power to millions of young people who are driving change in their communities whether we work with them or not. It is a shift that the development sector has not yet faced up to, and if it doesn’t we will collectively fail. I am leaving Restless Development with incredible staff and a powerful fast-growing movement of young people across the globe. I know they will lead our sector to new and exciting heights. This is your time and I will continue to be your supporter from wherever I head next."

“I will never stop being Restless. I will always support our collective of young people that is changing the world and be a champion of Restless Development for as long as I live.”

You can read more about Nik's thoughts about moving on in an interview with Devex here.

Nik has been with Restless Development for most of the agency’s young-life. He joined in 1999 as an international advisor when the one office was based out of a converted bathroom in Westminster School. In August 2011 Nik was appointed CEO. Since then he’s overseen the organisation’s transition from a volunteer-sending charity working in a handful of countries to a global agency led by nationally registered Hubs.

While Nik has been in post, we have supported young people to lead the UN’s youth delegation for the formation of the Sustainable Development Goals; we have supported the UK Department for International Development to develop a youth strategy and department, we have led the largest community mobilisation movement in response to Ebola in history; and we have supported a network of local young Nepali leaders to develop community response centres in response to the 2015 earthquake in Nepal.

In recognition of Nik’s efforts, leadership and commitment to young people, Nik was awarded an OBE by the Queen in the summer of 2015.


Martin Hayman, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Restless Development, said:

"Nik has been selfless in the time and energy he has devoted to Restless Development and young people. The Board is fully supportive of Nik’s plans to spend more time with his wife,Sal, and their young family. Through his leadership, and with the great support of our staff and volunteers across the globe, our Agency is now synonymous with young people driving international development, playing active roles in the growth of their own communities and countries. We were immensely proud when his achievements were recognised with the award of an OBE from Her Majesty the Queen. We are now looking forward to recruiting a worthy successor."

Aamirah Patel, 24, Trustee, Restless Development said:

"It has been fantastic to work with Nik who has supported me as young leader. As a younger trustee on Restless Development's Board, my position in this seat is testament to Restless living and acting on its values. So much of this is down to Nik’s commitment to championing youth-leadership and challenging misconceptions. I look forward to ensuring his successor carries this on with the same passion and dedication."


Restless Development will be working with Perrett Laver to run the recruitment process for the next CEO. The job advert and application details will go live on our website at the beginning of June, following a truly global consultation phase that will include conversations with young people and Restless Development’s network globally.

You can find all your questions answered here.

For media enquiries or to request an interview please contact Bobby Dean on +44 7595 911816 or

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