The Special Representative for External Affairs and Resources of SOS Children’s Villages International represents the organisation in the UN, EU, and in other major international platforms. He initiates and promotes cooperation with other leading INGOs and develops funding contacts with major international partners from the government, philanthropic and corporate sector. He is appointed by and reports to the International Senate, which is the supervisory body of the global federation of members working for children in 134 countries.
Richard Pichler became Special Representative for External Affairs and Resources of SOS Children’s Villages International in May 2016, after serving as Secretary General/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) since 1995
As Secretary-General/CEO of SOS Children’s Villages International, he drove the organisation’s strategy and led the process of developing and focusing SOS Children’s Villages International across three key programmatic areas, namely direct care for children, the strengthening of families with children in vulnerable situations, and advocacy for the rights of children who lost parental care or who are in danger of losing parental care.
During his tenure, Mr Pichler successfully led the federation through several strategy and restructuring processes. Most recently, he guided the global federation through a comprehensive governance and management review and led the implementation of the results. He positioned the organisation externally as one of the major child focused INGOs. Under his leadership, SOS Children’s Villages International engaged in a leading role in the development of the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children. Together with the CEOs of other child focused INGOs, he also worked successfully to influence the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to include key targets for children at risk.
Born in Austria and having grown up in SOS Children’s Village Hinterbrühl, Mr Pichler has a strong personal bond with the organisation. He took up his first position, as personal assistant to then SOS Children’s Villages President, Helmut Kutin, shortly after graduating from the University of Vienna with a degree in Business Administration in 1988. He was posted to South Korea as management and communications advisor, and was later appointed National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Philippines. In 1992, he became Regional Director of South East Asia, where his focus was the strengthening of national associations to become operationally self-sufficient and overseeing the implementation of new programmes in countries such as China, Laos, and Thailand. He introduced computerised accounting and administration across the region.
Mr Pichler speaks fluent German and English, as well as French and Spanish at intermediate level. Until recently, he was a board member of the International Civil Society Centre in Berlin. He also engaged, together with UNICEF, to set up the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children. Known in the sector, he appears as speaker at conferences and on panels, such as the one on development in the non-profit sector at the King Fahd University in Saudi Arabia.