Peter Wanless, who is currently chief executive of the Big Lottery Fund, was previously director of the families group at the then Department for Children, Schools and Families, and also director of school performance and reform, and director of strategy and communications.
Prior to that, Wanless worked at the Treasury, in a range of roles including head of private finance policy and principal private secretary to three cabinet ministers.
Wanless’s appointment follows Andrew Flanagan’s announcement last year that he will step down at the end of March, after four years leading the charity.
Wanless said it was a “fantastic privilege” to have been chosen to head up “such an important organisation”. “The NSPCC’s goal to eradicate child abuse and neglect is perhaps the most worthy of all causes,” he said.
“The opportunity to lead the largest and most trusted children’s charity in the UK is one I am very excited to be taking on. But I have no misconceptions about the size of the challenge awaiting me.
“No child should suffer neglect or abuse and I am determined that together we work towards our goal of ending child cruelty in the UK.”
Mark Wood, chair of trustees at the NSPCC, said Wanless has “ideal experience for this challenging role” and brings with him a “depth of knowledge of both the charity and children’s sectors”.
“His skills and achievements are impressive and I know his determination and passion will benefit us immensely,” Wood said. “I have no doubt he will make a big impact in ensuring we continue to be the voice of vulnerable children throughout the UK.
“I, on behalf of the NSPCC and all our supporters, staff and volunteers, would like to take this opportunity to thank Andrew Flanagan for all his tireless work over the last four years. We owe him a great debt for his achievements in confidently developing our new and innovative services to prevent child abuse.
“He has made a significant and lasting difference to the welfare of vulnerable children throughout the UK and we wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”
Wanless is married with an 11-year-old son. He was awarded the Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the 2007 New Year’s Honours List for distinguished public service.