DEC Statement: Welcome to John Willis new Independent Trustee


London 23 September 2008 - The Disasters Emergency Committee is delighted to announce that John Willis, Chief Executive of independent television production company Mentorn and Group Creative Director of Tinopolis has joined the DEC Board as an independent trustee.

He replaces the distinguished broadcaster Sheena MacDonald, the independent radio and TV producer and presenter who stood down at this year’s AGM after finishing her six year term of office.

John was Director of Factual and Learning at the BBC before moving to Mentorn and has a distinguished career in television both on the creative side and in management at London Weekend Television, Yorkshire Television and at Channel 4.

He will bring his wealth of experience to bear in helping the DEC negotiate with the full range of broadcasting organisations that are vital to the success of DEC national appeals when disaster strikes. His expertise will ensure that the message that the DEC has to get across in times of overseas tragedy is done with compelling clarity.

Over the last 18 months the DEC has launched appeals for Darfur & Chad, Bangladesh and Myanmar (Burma) Cyclones, with over £18 million being donated by the British public for the survivors of Cyclone Nargis that destroyed a swathe of coastline affecting the lives and livelihoods of over 2 million people.

In general, DEC Member agencies are already working in a region when a disaster happens and are involved in providing emergency relief in the first few days, as well as supporting the recovery of the affected people over the subsequent months.

John Willis said:

‘It is a great privilege to be  able to make a contribution to the DEC after a lifetime’s career in broadcasting. The work the organisation does, depends crucially on the good will of both the general public and the country’s broadcast institutions – I very much hope I am able to help develop the relationship between the DEC and its supporters in whatever way I can.’

Mike Walsh the DEC chairman said:

‘We are delighted that John has joined the Board, it is very important for the DEC that we have a balanced membership of  Charity Chief Executives and Independent Trustees bringing external expertise of the highest order.’