Scotland’s largest visual impairment organisation has announced the appointment of a new Chief Executive…

Mark O’Donnell will take up the role of Chief Executive of Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded, which are together known as Royal Blind Group, at the end of July.

Mr O’Donnell, currently Chief Executive of Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, will take over from Richard Hellewell, who will be retiring this Summer after 10 years at the helm.

With a background in health and social care in the charitable and public sectors, Mr O’Donnell joins the Royal Blind Group during a period of significant expansion. 150 jobs will shortly be created in Paisley at Royal Blind’s new care home for visually impaired older people and Scottish War Blinded’s activity and support centre. The new services will open in October this year.

A graduate of the University of Edinburgh, Mr O’Donnell is a former Deputy Director in health and social care at the Scottish Government and has held senior positions at the Scottish Ambulance Service and MS Society.

Mark O’Donnell said: "I am truly delighted to be joining Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded. It is a huge privilege to take over from Richard Hellewell as Chief Executive of such a respected and important organisation with a strong reputation for excellence and person-centred services. It is a particularly exciting time to join with an expansion of services underway. I look forward to working with everyone connected to the organisation to make sure the next chapter in the organisation’s history is a great success."

Gwenn McCreath, Chair of Royal Blind said: “We are delighted that Mark O’Donnell will be joining us as Chief Executive. He brings a wealth of experience of leading and managing charities and of working on social and health care policy and service delivery. Mark is joining Royal Blind at an exciting time in our development and we look forward to his leadership.

“We thank Richard Hellewell for leading Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded for the last decade. Under Richard’s leadership the charities modernised and grew their services, expanding our reach to many more visually impaired people of all ages. The Board wishes him all the best in his retirement.”