Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society, Mark Lever, is leaving the charity after 11 years and has been appointed as Chief Executive of Helpforce.

Mark, who started at the charity in 2008, has helped to push for major changes in autism policy and understanding, leading the cross-sector campaign for the Autism Act 2009 and the Autism Hour initiative. He has also helped the organisation to grow its schools and education services, with three new schools and three new mainstream school units opening under his leadership. Mark has also overseen a diversification in the organisation’s income, growing fundraising and trading income so the charity can continue to provide support to people through its helpline, online information and branch network.

The charity will now be looking for a new Chief Executive to build on the organisation’s new brand and take advantage of the increased public and political interest in autism. Mark will leave the National Autistic Society in May.

Carol Homden, Chair of the Board of Trustees at the National Autistic Society, said:

“I and our Trustees are enormously grateful to Mark for his dedicated leadership of the National Autistic Society for over a decade. Mark has been an exceptional leader and we are fortunate to have had him at the helm of our charity for such a long period. We know that much remains to be done to make society work for autistic people and we are looking forward to recruiting a new Chief Executive who can help us to take the next steps towards achieving this, building on Mark’s legacy. We wish Mark well in his new role – Helpforce is lucky to have him and colleagues, volunteers and supporters will miss him enormously.”

Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society, said:

“I feel lucky to have been given the opportunity to work for at this fantastic charity for over a decade. In that time, I have seen public awareness and understanding of autism transformed and I feel privileged to have played a role in that transformation. As we celebrate 10 years on from the Autism Act, I feel it is the right time to pass the baton to a new leader who will continue to grow the services we provide and continue to improve society’s attitudes towards autism.”