Nik Hartley, our CEO, is stepping down: your questions answered

Nik Hartley will be stepping down in his role as Restless Development’s CEO. 

When will this happen?

Nik will step down in March 2018.  He has given a long-lead in time to ensure we can continue to focus on our strategic commitments and priorities over the next year, and crucially enable Restless Development Development to conduct a smooth recruitment and transition to a new CEO.  

Why’s Nik leaving? 

There’s no better way to hear it than directly from Nik.
“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 a is truly exciting moment, not just for me, but for the awe-inspiring Restless Development. We have incredible staff and a network of young people who lead the work we do - leaders who will take Restless Development to new and exciting heights in ways I can only imagine. Perhaps most importantly, we are at a critical moment in history where there are more young people in the world than ever before; Restless Development is better equipped than ever to make sure their power and energy is unleashed for the good of our world.
“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.” 

Where’s Nik going? 

Nik has decided to take this time to focus on his young family, having recently had his second child with wife Sal. Nik and Sal are looking forward to spending some quality time together with their young children Merryn and Nye.  They will be heading off to Wales in their campervan (a little like the Obamas holidaying on a yacht after office... only slightly smaller).  They will take the necessary time and space to plan both of their next career moves.  

How long has Nik been at Restless Development? 

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 infamously based out of a 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 and set us up to mobilise 2.5 million young people.  He will be stepping down as CEO next year having been in that post for seven years.

What has Restless Development achieved with Nik at the helm?

Achievements are too many to mention, both since Nik has been CEO and in his deputy role to the founding Director.  From a small volunteer charity, Restless Development has become the agency for challenging the status quo of the development sector - thinking differently about youth; demonstrating the global possibility and impact of youth-leadership on development’s biggest challenges; providing expertise to governments around the world on how best to do youth-led development; supporting young people to influence the Sustainable Development Goals; pushing ‘Peak Youth’ up the global agenda - seeing the opportunity of young people in the world’s poorest countries. And all the while building the Agency’s delivery of life changing programmes - designing youth-led responses to Ebola in Sierra Leone and the earthquake in Nepal, employment and livelihoods in East Africa, award winning girl-led models for HIV prevention in southern Africa, and recently the global transparency award at the 2017 Bond Conference for developing a radical model for Dynamic Accountability.   
Nik has been CEO throughout the successful delivery of the agency’s previous global strategy and led the process, design and setup of our current strategy launched on International Youth Day in 2016.
In recognition of Nik’s efforts, leadership and commitment to young people, Nik was awarded an OBE by the Queen in the summer 2015. 

How has Nik led Restless Development?  

Martin Hayman, Chair of Restless Development: 
“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, Trustee, Restless Development:
‘It has been fantastic to work with Nik who has supported me as young leader. As a younger trustee on the Restless International 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.’ 

What will happen over the next year? 

We are now in full swing of our new global strategy.  Nik and the senior leadership team are committed to leading the organisation to adapt and deliver this new strategy to achieve our vision.  

When and how will we recruit the next CEO?

We will start with you.  We will invite young-changemakers, leaders, staff and associates to tell us what qualities, skills and experience you would like to see in our next CEO.  We will have a few weeks to gather input before finalising the position details.  Recruitment for this position will go live at the beginning of June.  And when that happens we will want your help in sharing and pushing this opportunity out to your networks. 

Who will be running the recruitment process?

We will be working with recruitment agency, Perrett Laver.  They have extensive experience and are renowned for their executive recruitments, especially for non-profits in over 50 countries.  Amongst their recent recruits include senior executives for Greenpeace, Oxfam and World Vision.  Perrett Laver are very supportive and committed to working with us to ensure our values and working culture prevail throughout this process.  The recruitment process will be overseen by trustees at every step of the way.

Who do I ask if I have any questions?

You can, of course, send your personal messages to Nik Hartley.  We still have lots of time with Nik and will of course be planning a Restless send off ahead of Nik’s leaving in March 2018.  In the meantime if you’ve got specific questions or comments on the process or implications please contact Alex Kent, Strategy Director,

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