Nick Young (executive)

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Sir Nicholas Charles 'Nick' Young (born 16 April 1952) is a British charity worker and solicitor. He was Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Relief between 1995 and 2001, and Chief Executive of the British Red Cross from 2011 to 2014.

Early life[edit]

Young was born on 16 April 1952,[1] to Major Leslie Young who had escaped from the Fontanellato Italian prisoner-of-war camp during World War II.[2] He was educated at Wimbledon College, then a grammar school.[3] He was a school prefect and captain of the cricket team.[4] He went on to study Law at the University of Birmingham. He graduated with an upper second-class Bachelor of Laws (LLB).[5]

He enrolled into The Law Society in 1975.[1] He joined the law firm Freshfields as an articled clerk.[5] He held that role between 1975 and 1977.[1] Following this period of training, he qualified as a solicitor in 1977.[5]


Between 1977 and 1978, Young worked as a solicitor at Freshfields, the same firm at which he undertook his training contract.[1] He joined the firm Turner, Martin & Symes in 1979,[5] becoming a partner of the practice in 1981.[1]

In 1985, he left law for the charity sector, becoming Secretary for development at the Sue Ryder Foundation.[4] Between 1990 and 1995, he was Director of UK Operations for the British Red Cross.[5] From 1995 to 2001, he was Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Relief. In July 2001, he returned to the British Red Cross to become its Chief Executive.[4][6] For 2013, his salary in that role is a controversial £184,000, given that the income of the charity is falling.[7][8] In marked contrast with Young's very generous salary, some 10% of British Red Cross Society's staff are paid the National Minimum Wage of only £6.31 an hour. He announced his intention to resign in June 2014 because of family reasons. From June, he worked part-time before standing down at the end of August 2014.[6] He remains involved in the charity following his retirement, having been appointed an honorary vice president.[9]

In addition to his career in the charity sector, he has held a number of government positions. From 2000 to 2001, he was a member of the NHS Modernisation Board.[5] There he was the architect of the new NHS cancer plan. He continued his influence on government health policy as an adviser to the then health secretary, Alan Milburn.[3] From 2010, he is a member of the Foreign Secretary’s Human Rights Advisory Group.[5][10] He has been an independent member of the National Honours Committee who review nominations for a British honour since 2011.[5]


In the Queen's Birthday Honours of 2000, it was announced that Young was to become a Knight Bachelor (Kt) 'for services to cancer care'.[11] On 12 December 2000, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.[12] He was made a Freeman of the City of London in 2007.[1] In 2009, he was invited to become a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute (CCMI).[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Sir Nicholas Young". People of Today Online. Debrett's. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "The Trust and its Officials". Monte San Martino Trust. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Hill, Nicola (31 January 2001). "Macmillan chief moves to Red Cross". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Mason, Tania. "Outstanding Leadership Award - Sir Nicholas Young". Civil Society. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i "YOUNG, Sir Nicholas (Charles)". Who's Who 2013. A & C Black. November 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Chief executive steps down". News. British Red Cross. 6 June 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  7. ^ "Foreign aid charities defend rising executive salaries". The Guardian. 6 August 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  8. ^ Anderson, Steve (6 August 2013). "UK charities hit back at salary criticism after revelation that 30 bosses paid more than £100,000 a year". The Independent. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  9. ^ Sharman, Alice (28 October 2014). "British Red Cross appoints Mike Adamson as chief executive". News. Civil Society. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  10. ^ Bowcott, Owen (11 November 2010). "Foreign Office reveals make-up of human rights advisory group". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  11. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 55879. p. 1. 19 June 2000. Retrieved 06 August 2013.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: no. 56136. pp. 2633–2634. 2 March 2001. Retrieved 06 August 2013.
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Sam Younger
Chief Executive of the British Red Cross
2001 – 2014
Succeeded by
Mike Adamson