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Who we are

Please install the Flash Plugin We have more than 1,000 staff, 1,092 volunteers and more than 20,000 members who support our work across the UK. We are led by our Executive Group, Board of Trustees, President and seven Vice Presidents who bring with them decades of experience from both the charity and commercial sectors.

Below, our Executive Group and Trustees explain their histories, and why they joined Action on Hearing Loss.


HRH The Duke of York KG 

Our Executive Group 

Paul Breckell - Chief Executive

Paul BreckellPaul became Chief Executive in August 2012 having worked for the charity since July 2007. 

“I feel very passionate about our work and this commitment comes both from my experiences of working with service users, staff and supporters at Action on Hearing Loss as well as having family experience of hearing loss and its impact on day to day living.”

Paul has spent most of his career in the voluntary sector having previously worked for Church Mission Society and for the HIV/AIDS healthcare charity Mildmay.  He is also an active volunteer as a charity trustee and as a youth and children’s worker.

James Rowe - Executive Director, Commercial Services

James Rowe joined Action on Hearing Loss in September of 2015 having spent the James Rowe
majority of his career working with people who use assistive technology (AT).

In the public sector, James worked as a Speech & Language Therapist, supporting people with complex acquired communication impairment. More recently, James has held senior leadership positions in commercial organisations in the wider AT industry.

His first role in the Charity sector, James said: “The Commercial Services group at Action on Hearing Loss sits at an amazing intersection, where the Charity is able to support individuals with hearing loss directly, through the products and services that we provide, and indirectly – through the return of every penny of profit directly back into charitable activity.”

“It’s unusual to find an organisation that is simultaneously able to deliver solutions to consumer, corporate, public and charitable markets but the team in the Commercial Services Group does just that through its Products, Training, Interpreting and Consultancy solutions. We really are privileged to be working for those people living with what is largely an invisible silence.”

James has a first degree in Speech & Language Therapy and an MBA from Warwick Business School. He lives in Huntingdon with his wife Dana, plays squash and poker (reasonably competitively) and passionate about the theatre, is also Chair of Huntingdon Drama Club.

Louise Pritchard - Executive Director, Services

Louise PritchardLouise joined RNID, now Action on Hearing Loss from the NHS where she was Director of Performance and Organisational Development at NHS Birmingham East and North. She has more than 23 years of senior level experience in the public sector. She has worked in London, Walsall and Birmingham, mostly in the commissioning and delivery of primary, mental health and community health services.

She holds a degree and Masters in Social Policy and Primary Health Care Policy and Management. Previous roles as Managing Director of Community Health Services have delivered service redesign within the social care, voluntary and hospital sectors.

“I am privileged and excited by the opportunity to work with exceptional people, delivering new and improved services that will make a real difference to people’s lives. I am determined that the invisible silence of millions is converted into a visible presence, connecting individuals at all levels, enabling us all to lead the lives we choose and to have our world enriched through the power of communication.”

Peter Robson - Executive Director, Corporate Resources

Peter RobsonPeter joined RNID, now Action on Hearing Loss, having spent a number of years in finance management in the private sector both in the UK and Europe, from large multi-national organisations to smaller owner managed businesses.

"I was keen to move into the voluntary sector and was inspired by the wide and diverse portfolio of activities that Action on hearing Loss delivers. I am driven by the positive change we are able to bring to people’s lives.

"I am motivated by the passion and devotion of our staff and volunteers in improving the lives of the people we are here to serve. To maximise the impact we are able to make, we need effective support structures and I am delighted to be working with a great team of dedicated people focused on delivering first class services.

"Away from the office I am also involved in my local community near Bath and am a Governor of a local Academy helping to support the school in enabling the children to achieve the best of their ability and having a keen interest in sports, I am also treasurer of a local youth football club."

Sohaila Rastan - Executive Director, Biomedical Research

Sohaila RastanDr Rastan, a specialist in biotechnology and genetics, has had a rich and varied career with a background in both the voluntary and private sectors. This includes working for the Wellcome Trust, MRC Clinical Research Centre, SmithKline Beecham and MacMillan Cancer Support. She has served on many scientific committees, including the UK Government Gene Therapy Advisory Committee and the Board of the National Cancer Research Institute.

Sohaila has noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus from a misspent youth listening to heavy metal bands.

David Steadman - Executive Director, Fundraising and Marketing

David SteadmanDavid Steadman is Executive Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Action on Hearing Loss, the Royal Charity helping people with deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss. He leads the charity’s fundraising, marketing and communications teams, which bring to life the charity’s work to find a cure within a generation, offer help in every community, and campaign for equality. 

With a first degree at Oxford University and a MBA from Cranfield, David started his career in the technology industry.  Before joining Action on Hearing Loss in February 2014, David was Project Manager at the NSPCC, Head of Corporate Development at The Prince's Trust, Director of Fundraising at the Duke of Edinburgh's Award and Commercial Director at children’s charity Coram.

David is a founding governor and Joint Chair of a new Free School, Alma Primary; he loves the outdoors, and lives in Barnet with his wife Alexis and two children.

Our President, Vice Presidents

Vice Presidents

The Rt Hon. the Lord Bruce of Bennachie
Keith Butler-Wheelhouse
Gerald Corbett
Sir Ranulph Fiennes
Sir Rocco Forte
Dame Evelyn Glennie
Baroness Howe of Idlicote
Steven Norris
Dame Esther Rantzen
Dr Miriam Stoppard
James Strachan

Our Board of Trustees

Stephen Hill - Chairman

Stephen Hill, Action on Hearing Loss chairmanStephen became a Trustee late in 2008. He served as our Treasurer before stepping up to the position of Chairman in June 2013.
Stephen took a double First in Economics and Law at St John's College Cambridge before a career that has taken in BCG, Guinness and Pearson.

He spent six years running the Financial Times Group and then in 2003 became CEO of the internet start up, Betfair; now one of the world's largest internet companies. Since 2006 he has run his own investment and property development companies, and been a senior adviser to a private equity fund.

He is the currently the Director of IG Group, Applerigg and AZTEC.

He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Judge Business School in the University of Cambridge. 

Eric Roux - Treasurer

Eric RouxEric Roux is a finance sector professional with extensive consulting and corporate experience. Eric has been the CEO of a Swiss-based asset management service provider, an MD of a Financial Services Information Services organisation and worked at a senior level at KPMG and Ernst & Young. Eric is a financial advisor, working on projects such as the creation of a new bank, and he has funded and coached start-up businesses.

Eric trained in Accounting and Finance at Colorado College and the Thunderbird School of Global Management in the United States, and is currently based in Switzerland. Eric founded and, as Treasurer and President, presided over a Chamber of Commerce, and currently chairs the London-based Brain and Spine Foundation.

Peter Clark

Peter Clark is a member of Action on Hearing Loss and was elected as Trustee by Action on Hearing Loss members in 2013. Peter has suffered from tinnitus since the 1980’s. A former chair of the Nottingham branch of the British Tinnitus Association, he was a Trustee of Action for Tinnitus Research until its merger with Deafness Research UK. Since then he has been active in the promotion of the tinnitus research as the most effective way of helping tinnitus sufferers.

Win Griffiths

Win GriffithsWin has a wide experience within Public Services in Wales, especially in Parliamentary/Political Affairs and the Third Sector in Wales.

He has always had an interest in issues concerning people with disabilities. As a Minister in the Welsh Office (1997-1998) he had a wide portfolio including health, disabilities, children and local government. He had close contacts with RNID as Minister and since retirement with representatives of people with hearing loss in his role as Chair of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board and its predecessors since 2005.

Professor Quentin Summerfield

Professor Quentin SummerfieldQuentin is Head of Psychology at the University of York.

He has extensive experience in the areas of scientific research into human hearing, hearing loss and deafness; cochlear implantation; methods for assessing the clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness of interventions designed to improve hearing.

Liz Tait

Liz Tait.Liz is Director of Fundraising at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and has recently joined Action on Hearing Loss as a trustee.

Liz has thirteen years experience in Fundraising, having started her career in the sector at Plan and Sense. In 2004 Liz joined the British Red Cross and whilst Head of Direct Marketing led transformational growth in the charity’s direct marketing income, which grew from £27m in 2007 to £57m in 2010. In 2009 her team won Third Sector’s Fundraising Team of the Year. Since September 2010 Liz has been leading a new Fundraising strategy and team at Battersea, who in their first year have more than doubled fundraising income.

Liz is passionate about the sector and the difference that fundraisers can make. She is a member of the Institute of Fundraising’s Learning & Development committee as well as the National Convention Board. Liz has also worked with the Institute of Fundraising to develop new qualifications in charity direct marketing and codes of practice for direct mail and house-to-house collections.

Caroline Ashley

Caroline Ashley - a trustee Caroline is a socio-economist in international development, with a deep and life-long involvement in deafness and disability issues. She supported her late father, Jack Ashley, in his campaigns. Professionally, she focuses on results measurement, strategy, opportunities for business to deliver social value, and she runs her own company.

Carol Cole

Carol Cole Trustee for Action on Hearing LossCarol joined the board as a Trustee in 2013, having previously been Vice-Chair of Deafness Research UK.  She runs her own consultancy in Organisation Development and Change Management and has extensive experience of strategy, leadership and governance.  A key area of expertise is in applying psychology to the design and implementation of strategic and organisational change initiatives to enhance business and team effectiveness.

Carol has worked extensively within the NHS as well as in Europe, North America and the Middle East with clients such as Shell, BP and BT. She serves on several boards and committees including Central London Community NHS Trust where she chairs Charitable Funds and is also a Trustee of the RAF Museum.  She was previously the Senior Independent Director at Hounslow and Richmond Community Health NHS Trust and is past Vice- Chair of the Association of Business Psychologists.  Having had a parent with deafness, Carol is keenly aware of its effects on individuals and families.

Richard Jones

richard jonesRichard Jones has many years’ experience in social care and health services having worked for central government, local government and the NHS. Richard was President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services in 2010 and was awarded a CBE in 2011. 
Richard's last role was with NHS England, where he had responsibility for commissioning a wide range of health care services. Richard is now an independent consultant who works with a range of social care and health services clients. Richard is also a trustee with Scope and Shared Lives, and is a non-executive director for Anchor Housing.  
As the brother of two siblings with hearing loss, Richard has experience of the impact of hearing conditions within his family.

Ingrid Gallen

Ingrid GallenIngrid is both the parent of a hearing impaired child and a Chartered Accountant working within the third sector. As the Company Secretary of a regional charity that contracts with health trusts and government departments, Ingrid understands the internal and external issues facing charities in the current economic climate.

This combination of personal and professional skills enables Ingrid to contribute effectively to the decisions made about the direction of Action on Hearing Loss on behalf of service users, staff and other stakeholders within Northern Ireland, ensuring that their voices are heard.

Ingrid’s personal interests include swimming and she is involved with the Great Britain Deaf Swimming Club.

Gerhard May

Gerhard has many years’ experience of hearing loss both professionally and personally. He is a trained molecular biologist and has lectured biochemistry and molecular biology at Scottish Universities. This experience has given Gerhard a scientific understanding of the physical causes of many forms of deafness. His research experience also provides him with an understanding of the challenges of developing new treatments to combat hearing loss and tinnitus. He is excited by recent developments in this area.

He has two sons who both suffer from severe hearing loss and he has developed tinnitus himself. This gives Gerhard a personal understanding of the social pressures placed on people with hearing loss and he understands how beneficial our support on biomedical research is.

James Waits

Jim qualified as an accountant and spent twelve years as Director of Finance in the NHS and was for more than ten years Chief Executive of a Health Authority. For more than twenty five years Jim was a member of various national committees which gave him direct contact with officials at the Department of Health and in the NHS. Jim believes his experience will be helpful in promoting improvements in services that will benefit those with hearing loss. Jim has an understanding of the problems hearing loss causes in everyday life as he suffers from hearing loss and tinnitus.

Louise Craddock

Louise has worked with deaf people of all ages her entire professional life and she has worked in the field of cochlear implants for over twenty years. 

Louise is a clinical scientist in Audiology on the Midlands Hearing Implant Programme at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and has managed the programme for ten years. Prior to that, Louise was a teacher of the deaf in London, working both in a Unit for Hearing Impaired children and as a Peripatetic Teacher of the Deaf. Louise was a former chair of the British Cochlear Implant Group and was an expert advisor to NICE for the Technological Appraisal of cochlear implants (TAG 166). She was instrumental in gaining NICE approval for cochlear implants for severe to profoundly deaf people.She is still on the Council of the British Cochlear Implant Group and is actively involved in the development of UK wide policies in this field. Louise is now keen to work more broadly at national level and be more involved in shaping policies and services within the UK.

Jacqueline Press

Jacqueline is profoundly deaf with two daughters, one of whom is hearing and the other profoundly deaf. After attending a hearing school as a child, Jacqueline became interested in understanding of cultural and mainstream aspects of deafness to gain a greater insight into the lives of those impacted by deafness. This interest led Jacqueline to become a Family Services Manager at the Jewish Deaf Association supporting the elderly, deafened, hard of hearing, young adults and families. Jacqueline recently created a social network for young deaf people.

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