Battersea announces departure of Chief Executive Claire Horton CBE

28 OCTOBER 2020

29 October 2020

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home today announced the departure of its long-time Chief Executive, Claire Horton CBE. After 11 years leading the world-famous animal charity, Claire is leaving Battersea to take up the role of Director General at The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Claire joined Battersea as Chief Executive in March 2010 during its landmark 150th year, and has led the total transformation of the much-loved charity, securing continued year on year growth, increasing its supporter base, quadrupling its income, repositioning the brand and investing in the expansion of its direct animal services, leading to it becoming a UK top 10 charity brand. In recent years Battersea’s influence has extended well beyond the gates of its three centres, using its voice to effect changes in legislation, including increases to sentences for animal cruelty, Lucy’s Law and compulsory microchipping of dogs. In 2017, Battersea launched its international Academy supporting and training animal rescue organisations from across the world and has enthralled the nation for nine years with its primetime ITV series, ‘Paul O’Grady, For the Love of Dogs’

Other achievements under Claire’s tenure include the redevelopment of Battersea’s three sites to provide state-of-the-art kennels, cattery, and hospital facilities for the thousands of dogs and cats that need Battersea’s help every year, an investment in volunteering that led to a quadrupling of volunteer numbers, and the delivery of award-winning behaviour change campaigns like, ‘Staffies, they’re softer than you think’ and ‘Rescue Is Our Favourite Breed’.

Speaking of her departure, Claire Horton says:

“Battersea is an incredible organisation, filled with the most talented and dedicated people I’ve ever had the privilege to work with and all totally focussed on changing and saving the lives of animals. Their shared sense of purpose and commitment is breath-taking and it is this dynamism and energy that has made Battersea one of the foremost animal welfare organisations in the world. I am deeply honoured to have worked alongside them for so long and I want to thank everyone at Battersea for their unstinting support, and their belief in me, over the last eleven years. Whilst I might be leaving as CEO, I shall remain very much part of the Battersea family, as a staunch supporter, fundraiser and advocate and my commitment to changing the world for animals remains as strong as it ever did.

“My move to head up the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in January takes me into a new sector and to a pivotal role in the historic, global institution that honours and cares for the graves and memorials of the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the First and Second World Wars, ensuring they will never be forgotten. I feel extremely privileged to be afforded this truly unique and unrivalled opportunity.”

Paul Baldwin, Battersea Chairman, commented:

“Battersea is truly indebted to Claire for her visionary and transformative leadership. Claire has been hugely committed to Battersea, an exceptional leader who has built and led her teams from strength to strength. Her passion, energy and drive truly inspired our staff and volunteers and she leaves a strong and lasting legacy. Thanks to Claire, tens of thousands of dogs and cats all over the world face a brighter future, one in which they will be treated with the love, care and respect they so deserve. On behalf of the Board, staff, and volunteers of Battersea I would like to thank Claire for her outstanding contribution to the charity over the past 11 years and wish her the very best of luck for the future.”

Claire leaves Battersea at the end of January 2021. The charity will start the recruitment process for a new Chief Executive in the near future.

ends

Notes to editors

  • Claire joined Battersea as Chief Executive in March 2010 during its 150th anniversary year. She will leave during its 160th anniversary year after ten and a half years at the helm.
  • Claire was awarded a CBE in recognition of her services to animal welfare in the 2020 New Year Honours List.
  • In 2016, Claire was named “Charity Chief Executive of the Year” in the Third Sector Awards.
  • In May 2017 she was named “UK Director of the Year” by the Institute of Directors, winning both the regional and national awards in the Public & Non-Profit category and then taking the overall national title across all sectors.
  • In 2015 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (DLaws) by the University of Roehampton.
  • Claire is chair of the sector membership body for rescue and rehoming organisations The Association of Dogs & Cats Homes (ADCH).
  • She sits as a NED on the DEFRA board, The Animal Health & Welfare Board for England (AHWBE). 
  • Battersea is here for every dog and cat and has been since 1860. Since it was founded 160 years ago, Battersea has rescued, reunited and rehomed over 3.1 million dogs and cats.
  • Battersea has 558 members of staff and 902 volunteers, who last year donated 92,366 hours to the charity.
  • We’re reliant on the generosity of the public to continue to fund our vital work helping dogs and cats and the people who care for them. Now more than ever, we need funds to enable us to continue to be here for every dog and cat.
  • Claire leaves Battersea to take up the role of Director General of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in January 2021.
  • The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) commemorates the 1.7 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who died during the two World Wars. It also holds and updates an extensive and accessible records archive. The Commission operates in more than 23,000 locations in more than 150 countries and territories.