The Challenge welcomes new chairman

Bill Ronald

The UK’s leading social integration charity, The Challenge, has announced Bill Ronald as its new chairman.

Bill, who has been the chairman of Fever-Tree Drinks since 2013 and is a former chairman of Muscular Dystrophy UK, will join the organisation on December 5. He takes over from current chairman, Colin Smith OBE, who has served in the role for more than six years.

Bill was a non-executive director with Halfords and acts as a mentor on The Mentoring Foundation’s programme to find the next generation of women leaders in FTSE 100 companies.

He said: “I believe in the potential and good within our youth. Young people set out wanting to do and be seen to do good – they want to contribute and feel part of society. The Challenge can help them do that, develop their skills and help them feel properly valued.

“I think it’s everyone’s responsibility to step forward to do what they can, using their own experiences to help others, and The Challenge provides real opportunities to do this. I’m looking forward to joining The Challenge to help drive its vision of creating a more integrated society where there are an understanding and appreciation of each other’s differences.”

Bill has ‘spent most of his life in chocolate’, having worked for 23 years with the Mars Corporation where he became managing director of Mars UK and a vice president of Masterfoods Europe. He was the chief executive of British food manufacturer Uniq plc and is a former deputy president of the Food and Drink Federation.

The Challenge’s CEO Oliver Lee said:

“Bill’s vast knowledge of both the charity and private sector is second-to-none and will be hugely beneficial in driving The Challenge, our vision and mission forward in the coming years. We have an exciting and important journey ahead and I am thrilled that Bill has agreed to join us as we look to the future.

“I am enormously grateful to Colin for all his support and commitment, both professionally and personally. His leadership has been pivotal to the development of our organisation, taking it from a start-up with a handful of employees to a well-established social enterprise that now helps more than 47,000 young people annually.

“This is just one of Colin’s many achievements in a career which includes roles as chief executive of Safeway, chairman of Poundland and chairman of Hilton Food Group. I wish him every happiness in his retirement.”

Colin said: “I am incredibly proud of the work I’ve seen at The Challenge over the years and the strides we have made in bringing social integration to the forefront of people’s minds. I have seen first-hand the positive impact programmes like NCS and HeadStart have on young people and how that helps them personally with new-found confidence and skills and I have no doubt that The Challenge – and those it serves – will continue to thrive under Bill’s chairmanship.”