Oxfam’s long serving Executive Director Andrew Hewett has announced his resignation after 11 years in the job, and 21 years with the organisation.
He will remain in the job until December to give time for a rigorous international search for his replacement.
Board Chair Michael Henry said Mr Hewett’s contribution to Oxfam had been enormous over such a lengthy period of time.
“Andrew has overseen big growth in Oxfam’s programs around the world – programs that deliver basic necessities like food, water and shelter, but uniquely, also build people’s capacity to argue and fight for those basic rights themselves,” Mr Henry said.
“He has been an outstanding chief executive and in the years I have worked with him I have developed great respect for his integrity, skills and commitment to Oxfam and its work.”
Mr Hewett began with Oxfam when it was Community Aid Abroad in 1991 and came on board to establish and head up a new advocacy/public policy unit.
In his time at Oxfam Mr Hewett also headed up Oxfam International’s humanitarian response to the crisis in Timor Leste between 1999 and 2001 and was pivotal in the establishment of the Oxfam International Advocacy Office in Washington.
“In the last 20 or so years I have seen first-hand the results of the hard work and dedication of Oxfam staff both here in Australia and around the world, visiting Oxfam programs in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, China, Indonesia, Timor Leste, PNG, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Guatemala and our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Program here in Australia,” Mr Hewett said.
“I have witnessed real pain and suffering, most recently in East Africa where the effects of the famine are heartbreaking, and I have also witnessed real joy, seeing women in particular benefitting enormously from our programs – developing their own small businesses, making money for their families, providing food for their kids and leading their communities. It’s the efforts of Oxfam staff that has made so much of this possible and I feel so proud of our staff and this organisation for continuing to deliver this sort of work.
“Each and every one of Oxfam’s staff is working so hard to deliver a just world without poverty. I have been privileged to work alongside each and every one of them as we fight to get there.
“I have always thought that 10 years is a good maximum tenure for a job like Oxfam ED and I’m now approaching 11 years,” Mr Hewett said.
Mr Hewett said he was planning on taking a break with his family and then undertaking some study in 2013.
Mr Hewett will remain as Executive Director until December. Oxfam’s Board will begin the recruitment process for his replacement immediately.