We’re delighted to announce the appointment of our new chief executive

We’re delighted to announce the appointment of our new chief executive.

Paul Hook (he/him – pictured) will take up the post on Tuesday 2 April following four years at the helm of Asylum Matters, a charity which works to secure social and political changes to improve the lives of refugees and people seeking asylum.

Simon Dowe (he/him), Chair of Switchboard’s Trustees, said “We are delighted to welcome Paul as we approach our 50th birthday. Paul brings with him a wealth of experience from within the third sector advocating for some of the most marginalised and vulnerable members of our society.”

Paul said he was “thrilled” to be joining Switchboard, adding: “It’s an incredible organisation that has been doing invaluable work in our community for decades.

“There’s a wonderful team of staff, volunteers and trustees who are continuing to deliver this work, and it feels very exciting to have been given an opportunity to join them.”

Born and educated in London, Paul studied Modern Languages and Politics at the University of Bradford before living and working in France and Germany.

After serving Oxfam as a campaigns officer for five years, he joined Compassion in World Farming as Deputy Communications Director.

Paul spent a decade working for the National Federation of SubPostmasters, first as Policy and Research Manager and later as Head of Policy and Communications.

For five years from 2015, he served Refugee Action as Head of Campaigns and as Advocacy Manager, taking up his current post as Director of Asylum Matters in 2020.

Paul said he was “excited” at the prospect of leading Switchboard, adding: “LGBTQ+ people still face many challenges and injustices that affect them all the time, so it’s really important that there are strong, responsive and expert organisations and teams – like those at Switchboard – who can work with the community to tackle some of these challenges.”

Paul, who is married and lives in Brighton, said he was keen to build on Switchboard’s “brilliant work” and said he was particularly looking forward to the charity’s 50th birthday celebrations next year, adding: “It will be important to look back, reflect and celebrate the achievements and contribution of everyone involved in Switchboard – past and present – and the community.

“It will also be a good opportunity to look forward and see what the next half century might hold.”

Simon said: “Myself and the entire LGBT Switchboard team welcome Paul on board and together we look forward to building on our outstanding achievements of the last 50 years.”

Paul will succeed Jacob Bayliss, who moved to a new role in January after three-and-a-half years at the helm, a period during which the organisation doubled in size and impact.