Akiko Hart to become Interim Director of Liberty

Headshot of Akiko Hart

NSUN’s Chief Executive Officer Akiko Hart will be leaving the organisation at the end of May 2023, after more than three years in the role, following her appointment as the Interim Director of Liberty, the civil liberties organisation.

Akiko became the CEO of NSUN in January 2020. In her time at NSUN, she has overseen a period of growth and change for the organisation, including the start of our grant-making activities for user-led mental health groups and the refresh of NSUN’s strategic direction, which focusses on the redistribution of power and resource in mental health.

Jen Beardsley, NSUN’s Head of Operations and Finance, will be holding the position of Interim CEO of NSUN upon Akiko’s departure and until the trustees appoint a permanent CEO to take up the role. Recruitment for the position will commence in the next couple of weeks.

Akiko Hart said:

“My time at NSUN has been some of the most rewarding and also some of the most intense of my working life. Intense, because of the pandemic, which changed what we did and how we worked. Rewarding, because the work matters, and because of the people doing it – our members and our team.

There’s also been change within NSUN, as we have built on our mission of shifting power and resource in mental health by working with grassroots groups in new ways, and resourcing them through small grants programmes.

The culture we have created within NSUN sits with the amazing NSUN team, not any one individual. The strength of the work is in our network of individuals and groups who campaign and challenge the status quo, and are building alternatives.

I am really grateful to Jen for generously stepping into the CEO role in an interim capacity until the new CEO starts, and I’m looking forward to seeing NSUN continue to grow and flourish under new leadership.”

NSUN’s Chair, Angela Newton, said:

“Akiko is an exemplary values-driven leader who has worked tirelessly and with great dedication and devotion for our members over the past three years. During this time, she has grown the work of the charity considerably and leaves us in a solid position to continue in our quest to shift power and resources within mental health. I have no doubt that she will continue to make the UK a fairer, more equal, and better place for people through her work at Liberty.

It has been a joy and a privilege to work with Akiko and whilst she will be missed by many, including myself, I am excited about our future. I am delighted to confirm that Jen Beardsley, our wonderful Head of Finance and Operations, will take up the position of Interim CEO whilst we find our next future leader.”