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CEO & Directors

Simon Antrobus

Chief Executive

Simon Antrobus has been Chief Executive of BBC Children in Need since November 2016.

Simon has worked in the voluntary sector for over 25 years. Prior to joining BBC Children in Need, Simon was Chief Executive of We are With You, before which he was Chief Executive of Clubs for Young People. Simon has also held senior positions at Parkinson’s UK and Scope. He has chaired a national inquiry which produced ‘Dying to Belong’, a comprehensive report into UK gangs and violence affecting young people, was a trustee at the Pilgrim Trust, acted as Chair of the National Council of Voluntary Youth Services and worked within local authorities in both Luton and Northamptonshire as a youth and community development worker.

Karen Bass

Chief Operating Officer

As BBC Children in Need’s Chief Operating Officer, Karen is responsible for the charity’s finance, operations, governance and people strategies. She joined the charity in 2015, having previously spent over 20 years working in the commercial sector.

Karen initially qualified as a Chartered Accountant while working as a corporate tax adviser with Arthur Andersen.  She subsequently gained experience as a management consultant working with a range of commercial clients.   Karen then spent 17 years with FTSE 100 AstraZeneca in a number of central finance and finance business partner roles across global product strategy, commercial, manufacturing and research & development divisions. During her time at AstraZeneca, Karen led several major projects and restructuring programmes for the organisation.

Karen has a Master’s Degree in Mathematics from the University of Oxford and also has experience in a number of voluntary non-Executive roles.

Claire Hoyle

Commercial Director

Claire joined BBC Children in Need in 2018. As the charity’s Commercial Director, she has responsibility for our income generation and marketing activities. Claire began her career in retail completing the Sainsbury’s management training programme and spending seven years in various store management roles, before moving on to M&S. She spent seven years at M&S, firstly as a manager in store and latterly as a member of the Press Office, looking after corporate PR and major events as well as being part of the delivery team for M&S’ sustainability programme, Plan A.  

 In 2009, Claire became Head of Community Fundraising at blood cancer charity, Bloodwise, eventually heading up the campaigns, events and major supporters team. In 2012, she joined the NSPCC, initially leading the events team, before taking on a senior leadership role as Head of Partnerships, managing the teams responsible for creating and delivering major partnerships with commercial organisations, major supporters and celebrities, before being promoted to Deputy Director of Fundraising in early 2018. 

Fozia Irfan

Director of Children & Young People

Fozia joined BBC Children in Need in October 2020 with responsibility for the charity’s impact and grant-making activities. Fozia was previously CEO of the Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation. 

 In addition to her professional experience, Fozia has held a number of voluntary, advisory roles on grant making boards. She has been a Trustee at the Association of Charitable Foundations and established the national Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) coalition of foundations which supports the implementation of more effective and equitable grant making strategies. Fozia also chaired the Extending Reach Programme at Scouts UK and was a Commissioner for the Inclusive Growth Commission in Luton. 

Fozia studied law at LSE and began her career as an Employment Solicitor before moving into the charity sector, subsequently achieving a Master’s degree in Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment at Cass Business School, City University. She is now a Visiting Lecturer at Cass Business School, on the Charity Management Master’s Programme. 

Tommy Nagra

Director of Content

Tommy is responsible for overseeing all BBC Children in Need content across multiple platforms and leading programme partnerships across the BBC. He leads the charity’s Content team working with  production teams across the broadcaster to raise awareness and millions of pounds every year to help change young lives throughout the UK. 

Tommy is an award-winning programme maker with significant experience across the BBC and  the independent sector as an Executive Producer and Head of Department. His previous roles include: Head of Television for BBC Religion & Ethics; Head of Channel Development & Partnerships for BBC Children’s; Head of BBC Birmingham; Head of Specialist Factual at Maverick Television; and Channel Development Executive for BBC Two.   

He has gained several industry accolades including Mentor of The Year at  The Cultural Diversity Network Awards and Outstanding Contribution to Media at the Asian Media Awards in 2018, alongside numerous national and international awards he has gained as a programme maker.  

He secured a Fellowship from the prestigious Clore Leadership programme , currently sits on the  Royal Television Society Committee in the North West,  and has recently been appointed to The Creative Access Advisory Board, a social enterprise dedicated to recruiting under represented talent in the creative industries.  

Jo Ruddock

Director of Insight

Jo is an Insight and Planning Director with extensive experience in the FMCG and retail sectors, gained across both in-house and agency roles. She is BBC Children in Need’s first Director of Insight and has been with the charity since 2017. Jo leads the charity’s Insight team to undertake our own research as well as monitoring and analysing consumer and sector trends, with the aim of ensuring our grant-making and audience engagement strategies are effective and have the greatest impact on young lives. 

Prior to joining BBC Children in Need, Jo worked for Kellogg’s from 2002 to 2017, joining as Senior Insight Manager, before being promoted to Head of Insight & Planning (UK) and then becoming Insight & Planning Director leading the European team. Jo also spent time at advertising agency McCann-Erickson Manchester Ltd (2000-2002) where she was responsible for developing communications strategies for key clients and new business prospects. Prior to this, Jo worked at Sony Computer Entertainment (1996-2000) where she was responsible for all research undertaken within the Psygnosis software business, and for Nestle UK (1992-1996), delivering marketing-related research and analysis to their confectionery business. 

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