Denmark’s first female prime minister is to become the new head of Save the Children International, one of the world’s leading charities that works in some 120 nations, it announced on Thursday.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, a Social Democrat who led a Danish coalition government from 2011 to 2015, succeeds Jasmine Whitbread as chief executive of the umbrella charity organization, the London-based group said.
Thorning-Schmidt said she looked forward to working on Save the Children International’s “bold but simple” goals that children do not die from preventable causes, have access to quality education and do not live with violence and abuse.
“In recent decades the world has made unprecedented progress in reducing child mortality, and the work of organizations like Save the Children has made a huge difference,” she said in a statement.
“But as we see every day, there is still much more to do to rescue children from suffering and danger and give them a future.”
Thorning-Schmidt, 49, led the Danish Social Democratic Party for 10 years and stepped down after losing a parliamentary election in June last year to Liberal Party opponent Lars Lokke Rasmussen.
With more than 25,000 staff and a budget of more than $2 billion (1.4 billion pounds sterling), Save the Children International is the umbrella organization overseeing programs that reach more than 55 million children in some 120 countries, according to a spokeswoman.
Whitbread stepped down last month after five years in the post. Thorning-Schmidt will take up her position on April 4 and will be based at Save the Children International’s headquarters in London.