Leading the global strategy, the new CEO will help to ensure the best care for children, increase our impact and unite more partners so that no child grows up alone.
INNSBRUCK, Austria, 10 December 2020 – SOS Children’s Villages, the world’s largest non-governmental organisation supporting children and young people without adequate parental care, present in more than 130 countries and territories, appoints Ingrid Maria Johansen as CEO, effective 4 January 2021.
Ms Johansen’s career in the NGO and civil society sector spans nearly 20 years, from coordinating projects on the ground to leadership positions in the boardroom. Ms Johansen, 41, joins SOS Children’s Villages from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), where until recently she was a member of the International Board.
“Ms Johansen has worked in many different countries, cultures and environments. She brings programmatic experience and a multi-cultural perspective into her leadership,” says Siddhartha Kaul, President of SOS Children’s Villages International. “Her hands-on experience in the field and her governance work at a global level will be vital as we pursue a strategy that supports our SOS Children’s Villages member associations to increase their impact worldwide.”
After starting her career at the World Bank and Save the Children, Ms Johansen joined MSF in 2007 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She went on to lead healthcare projects in the Central African Republic, South Sudan and isolated villages for the Rohingya minority in Myanmar. Her recent work with the development of the MSF-West & Central Africa Association significantly shaped her vision of pathways for organisational change and shifting power structures within the aid sector.
In 2015, she was elected to the Board of MSF-Sweden and then, in 2017, to the MSF International Board.
Ms Johansen, a dual-national of Sweden and Norway, holds a Bachelor’s degree from the London School of Economics, an M.Phil. in Development Studies from the University of Oxford and an LL.M. (Master of Laws).
As CEO, Ms Johansen will lead the Management Team of SOS Children’s Villages International, the umbrella organisation for the global federation. In her new role, she is tasked with the overall performance of the General Secretariat and driving the strategic goals of the federation. Ms Johansen will lead the organisation through times of change, building on the strengths and relevance of the locally rooted federation as demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms Johansen takes over the role from Mr Steffen Braasch, CFO, who has led the organisation as interim CEO this past year.
“In times of difficulty, and even more so in the face of the current pandemic, SOS Children’s Villages represents the best of humanity: the offer of care for a child or a helping hand to families in need,” says Ms Johansen. “It embodies hope, human dignity and the staunch defence of the inalienable right of every child to grow up with their fundamental rights and freedoms fulfilled.