RNLI Chief Executive announces retirement plans

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI’s Chief Executive, Paul Boissier, has confirmed his intention and long-held plans to retire in 2019 after 10 years at the helm of the lifesaving charity.


RNLI CE Paul Boissier

The RNLI’s Chief Executive, Paul Boissier, has confirmed his intention and long-held plans to retire in 2019 after 10 years at the helm of the lifesaving charity.

During the last 10 years, the RNLI has maintained its place as one of the world’s foremost maritime rescue organisations, but at the same time it has worked hard to modernise, and to make itself more resilient in the face of an uncertain future.

This modernising journey has focused on making sure that the charity does the right thing: providing the best lifeboats and equipment for its crew members; fundraising in a way that respects the wishes of individual supporters; and building an organisational culture that is both inclusive and respectful. The RNLI has extended its lifesaving activities around the coast of the UK and Ireland so that today it not only has a highly effective lifeboat and lifeguard rescue service, but is also doing very much more in terms of drowning prevention, using hard-hitting safety campaigns like Respect the Water. The charity has also developed its international footprint – successfully sharing its lifesaving skills with organisations in other countries in order to help them reduce drowning.

In parallel with this, the RNLI has embarked on a journey of cultural change, improving governance, working more closely with other organisations, and generating a more inclusive culture within the RNLI itself. The RNLI was the first charity in the UK to move to opt-in – asking supporters’ permission to stay in touch 18 months before GDPR regulation came into force – and it now has a gender pay gap of less than 1% (one of the lowest in the charity sector). Wide-ranging cost-saving initiatives and continuous improvement have saved the charity an estimated £40M per annum, and allowed it to invest more money in the effectiveness and the safety of our lifesaving service.

Paul said: ‘For the last 10 years I have had the privilege of serving as the Chief Executive of this brave, complicated and historic charity. In an uncertain world, we have continued to provide an outstanding service to the public, while modernising the organisation itself and strengthening the RNLI for any challenges that may lie ahead.

‘During this period, I have had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the most impressive and quietly courageous people that I have ever met. The job has been challenging, humbling and heart-warming in equal measure, and I now look forward to handing the mantle to my successor – someone who will help the RNLI continue its noble lifesaving work into the future.’

RNLI Chairman, Stuart Popham, said: ‘The RNLI is one of UK’s longest-established charities and its leader has a uniquely challenging job; providing both a modern emergency service and running one of the UK’s most valued and respected volunteer-led charities. Paul has worked hard to modernise the RNLI over the last 10 years and I am now looking for a new leader for the RNLI to build on his legacy.’

Paul plans to leave the RNLI in the summer of 2019, giving the organisation adequate time to find a successor and handover the reins.

Notes to editors

  • Photo: RNLI Chief Executive, Paul Boissier, at Tower lifeboat station. Credit RNLI/Nathan Williams
  • Paul is unavailable for interviews until later in the year. If you would like to talk about future interview opportunities, please contact the RNLI Press Office.
  • The advertisement for the new RNLI Chief Executive will be on the RNLI’s website from Sunday 26 August (RNLI.org.uk/jobs)

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or at pressoffice@rnli.org.uk.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.