Executive Directors

Guide Dogs’ Executive Team is accountable for our vision and strategy. It is responsible for the day-to-day management of Guide Dogs, acting under delegated authority given to it by the Board. It is important for Guide Dogs to have a highly effective leadership team in these senior roles.

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Managing Guide Dogs – our Executive Directors

The members of the Executive Team are:

Andrew Lennox, Chief Executive
Sarah Bennett, Chief Financial Officer
Deborah Bourne, Fundraising and Commercial Director
Dan Hall, Chief Information Officer
Pete Osborne, Chief Operations Officer
Kathryn Ward, People Director 

Andrew Lennox, Chief Executive

Andrew Lennox, Chief Executive

Andrew joined Guide Dogs in July 2023 bringing with him extensive experience from the Health and Social care sectors where he held a number of senior roles.

Before joining Guide Dogs, he was the Chief Executive at Apposite Imaging Holdings Company (AIHC) - a leading UK diagnostic provider, providing MRI and CT scans for over 100,000 patients each year at clinics and mobile scanner sites across the UK. Prior to that he was the CEO at Eden Futures, an organisation providing specialist care and support to people diagnosed with a learning or physical disability, acquired brain injury, autism or enduring mental health conditions. Previous roles included that of Hospital Director for a Nuffield Health charity hospital.

In 2017, Andrew joined the Board of Midlands Air Ambulance Charity as a volunteer Trustee. He has a personal affinity with the cause as his father was in the ambulance service, so he really appreciates the opportunity to further contribute through his role as Chair of the HR and Remuneration Committee.

He originally trained as an engineer but quickly realised his passion was working for and with people and he has sought out roles which fit this purpose. Andrew lives in Wiltshire with his wife Helen where they enjoy spending time with their two dogs, two horses, and going Ceroc dancing.

Sarah Bennett, Chief Financial Officer

Sarah Bennett

Sarah joined Guide Dogs finance team in 2020 as Head of Finance and was appointed Chief Financial Officer in October 2023.

Sarah is a Chartered Accountant with a wide background within complex organisations including BMW, London Underground and SABMiller. Sarah focuses on fact-based decision making to enable executive decisions. Sarah volunteers for a local gardening charity to ensure she is embedded in the local community and has hands on experience of being a volunteer worker.

Helen Bliss, Transformation Director

Helen Bliss

Helen joined as Director of Transformation in January 2023 bringing extensive experience around positive change, ensuring our strategy links to everything we do and make the best use of every donor pound at the same time.

Before joining Guide Dogs, Helen was Group Transformation Director at Ocado Group. Helen has previous experience in continuous improvement at Marks & Spencer and developing operating models at Wilko Group and Aldi. 

Helen lives in Devon with her husband, daughter and three dogs. Outside of work Helen enjoys the great outdoors, from paddleboarding to CaniCross – cross country running with dogs!

Deborah Bourne, Fundraising and Commercial Director

Photograph of Deborah Bourne

Deborah Bourne is our Fundraising & Commercial Director, having previously been Head of Committed Giving – half of Guide Dogs' Individual Giving Department.

Deborah has enjoyed a career in the retail and charity sectors for over 25 years, marketing well-known brands such as WH Smith, Guinness, Staples, Grattan and Subway and working with some amazing charities including Hearing Dogs, Leonard Cheshire and Barnardos. Deborah is married and lives in the countryside with two sons, a neurotic cat and a black Labrador with aspirations to become an Ambassador dog.

Dan Hall, Chief Information Officer

Dan Hall

Dan joined Guide Dogs as CIO in March 2024, a role that sees him accountable for IT services across the organisation. Dan was previously Director of IT at the Girls’ Day School Trust, and before that, he worked at the NSPCC and the British Council.
Seven years working for Blind Veterans has also given Dan some understanding of the challenges that people with vision impairments face, and how technology and other accommodations can support and transform their lives.

Dan lives just outside Watford, near London, with his wife, their two teenagers, two cats and two pet snakes.

Pete Osborne, Chief Operations Officer

Photograph of Pete Osborne, Guide Dogs Director of OperationsPete joined Guide Dogs in May 2014 as Head of Mobility Services, managing the Hull community team and covering East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. He was later appointed the Regional Head of Operations for the North East, covering Hull, Leeds, Sheffield, and Newcastle. Prior to that Pete worked for the RNIB, latterly as Head International Development and Partnerships/ Chief Braille Officer but also in previous roles which took him worldwide.

Pete took over from Wendy Rankin as Director of Operations here at Guide Dogs on 1 December 2019. He has an MBA with distinction from the University of Loughborough and BA/Hons English and Phonetics from the University of Leeds and his current guide dog is a four-year-old yellow Labrador/golden retriever cross called Nyle.

Kathryn Ward, People Director

Kathryn Ward, Director of People & Performance for Guide DogsKathryn joined as Director of People & Performance in September 2019. Her remit includes People Services, Leadership, Learning & Organisation Development, Legal, Compliance & Safeguarding, and Volunteering. She is the key sponsor for the Team Guide Dogs transformation programme, as well as Diversity & Inclusion and Wellbeing.

Before joining Guide Dogs, Kathryn was Director, Senior HR Business Partner at Sotheby’s, and was a driving force behind their Corporate Social Responsibility program. Prior to this, her career was focused in HR in the City, with a short break sailing round the world in the 2004 Global Challenge. She brings a strong focus on the positive impact of bringing respect, equality, growth and well-being as fundamental values in the work environment.

Kathryn’s home life revolves around two cats, two children, one husband, daily yoga, infrequent running, and a sadly neglected garden.

Our policy on Executive pay

Guide Dogs is a growing, fundraising charity, with the ambition to double the number of people with sight loss that we support. To achieve this, we need to recruit and retain talented leaders with the skills and experience to help us meet our goals. The Board of Trustees, all independent volunteers, decide the level of pay for the Executive Directors, who are accountable to the board for ensuring we transform the lives of those we support. The Trustees use recognised benchmarks to ensure levels of pay are appropriate, and comparable with similar roles in organisations of a similar size and complexity. Benefits for Executive Officers are in line with those available to all staff. This includes a flexible benefits allowance of up to 3% of their salary. This is reviewed and discussed in depth annually, and this pay policy forms part of the contracts of employment of our Chief Executive and Executive Directors.

Guide Dogs is committed to greater transparency about voluntary sector pay and supports the recommendations in the National Council of Voluntary Organisations’ (NCVO) Report of the Enquiry into Charity Senior Executive Pay. Information on our pay policy and the pay of senior staff is available in each annual report. Our latest reported accounts are for 2018.

Employee involvement and employing people with disabilities

We are committed to transparency in our work and to involving employees in our decisions. We communicate with employees through day-to-day line management, team meetings, management visits to Guide Dogs’ offices, conferences and away days. We also communicate regularly through our intranet, internal publications and email. In addition, employees can raise any concerns they may have with elected Staff Representatives, which encourages a flow of information up and down the organisation.

Guide Dogs has been awarded the Two Ticks symbol by Jobcentre Plus. The symbol identifies employers who have undertaken to meet five commitments on the employment, retention, training and career development of employees with disabilities. We apply the same principles to anyone who becomes disabled while employed by Guide Dogs.