The Poppy Factory has confirmed that Melanie Waters is stepping down as its Chief Executive to take on the mantle of CEO at fellow Armed Forces charity, Help for Heroes…

Melanie, who has been CEO at The Poppy Factory for over 6 years, was responsible for the creation of the charity’s renowned employability service. The charity has experienced consecutive years of growth under her leadership, supporting over 600 hundred disabled veterans into meaningful and sustainable employment across the country. An additional 500 people have registered for support this year alone.

In order to cope with this growing demand, the charity has spent the last year developing a new 5-year strategy, driven by an ambition for a world in which every workplace values disabled veterans. This will position The Poppy Factory as a leading employability expert and a model employer. It intends to provide a leading, evidence-based employability service that is effective at both supporting our veterans back into work and helping transform the way all employers think about employing disabled people.

Mark Perowne, Chairman of The Poppy Factory, said: “I, the Trustee Board and all the staff, thank Melanie for the huge contribution that she has made to The Poppy Factory over her time with us and for building a strong foundation on which we can realise our ambitions. The Board and the Executive team are now committed to delivering the new plans that Melanie has helped to shape.

“We wish Melanie well in her upcoming role at Help for Heroes. Although she will be missed, we intend to maintain close ties as we regard this move as another step forward for collaborative working in the sector.”

Melanie added: “It has been an enormous privilege to have served as The Poppy Factory’s first CEO and to have led the charity’s transformation over the last 6 years into an employability expert for those veterans with disabilities. The plans for the next 5 years are exciting and I look forward to watching The Poppy Factory continue to grow under new leadership.”

The Poppy Factory Board has appointed Odgers Berndtson, the leading Executive Search Consultants, to seek a new CEO to take The Poppy Factory’s exciting plans for the future forward.