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Chief Executive, Simon Roberts OBE, to stand down

Head-and-shoulders shot of Simon Roberts

Simon is leaving the Centre for Sustainable Energy, the organisation he led for 22 years, in March.

It is with much sadness that the Centre for Sustainable Energy announces that Simon Roberts OBE, is leaving the charity at the end of March 2024. He has taken the decision to retire in order to focus on his continuing recovery from the stroke he suffered in May 2022, which has left him suffering chronic fatigue.

But as well as sadness we feel immense gratitude for Simon’s leadership and dedication to the organisation since he became our Chief Executive 22 years ago.

Anne Obey OBE, Chair of the board of trustees at CSE, said:

“It is difficult to overstate the contribution Simon has made to CSE over the last two decades, building it into the resilient, effective and influential organisation it is today. Under his leadership, the charity has grown from a team of 25 to more than 120 staff. And our annual turnover has risen from about £1.2m to nearly £7m. This has led to a hugely increased positive impact locally around Bristol and nationally. That is a remarkable legacy which we gratefully cherish. We wish Simon all the very best for the future.”

Commenting on his departure, Simon said:

“Leading CSE and working with its amazing team of staff, trustees and volunteers to tackle the climate emergency and end the misery of cold homes has been a huge privilege and a source of great pride and joy. I’m very sad to be leaving but also happy to know that the organisation is in very good hands and will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Simon Roberts, Chief Executive of the Centre for Sustainable Energy, speaking at the organisation's 40th anniversary event in 2019
Simon was known for his unique and engaging speaking style. Here he is at CSE’s 40th anniversary event in 2019

Simon’s work at CSE was characterised by original thinking and insights. As a reminder of these, here are three short articles by him which we published on this website over the last decade.

Smart & fair (November 2021)
Based on a presentation to a COP 26 fringe event and drawing on CSE’s groundbreaking Smart & Fair programme, Simon explores the challenges of achieving a smart and flexible energy system that is also inclusive and fair. He makes recommendations for how to meet this challenge.

More jazz than Mozart (March 2020)
A critique of the dominant approach to tackling the climate emergency which suggests the need to adopt a different vibe to secure the lasting systemic change required.

Meaningful public consent (June 2014)
Highlighting the importance of establishing what Simon called ‘meaningful public consent’ for the transition to net zero, and describing some of the techniques developed by CSE to help to do so.

CSE’s board of trustees is currently planning the recruitment process to find Simon’s successor over the coming months. Janine Michael, as Deputy Chief Executive, continues to lead the charity with support from other directors and the Chair of Trustees, Anne Obey.

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