October 3, 2017

Averil Power appointed Chief Executive at Irish Cancer Society

The Irish Cancer Society has appointed Averil Power as its Chief Executive, with effect from 2nd January 2018.

The Society is Ireland’s largest and most successful cancer charity. For over fifty years, it has led the fight against cancer by helping people reduce their risk of developing the disease, supporting patients and survivors, investing over €20 million in cancer research and lobbying Government to improve services. It also played a leading role in the development of the Government's recently published National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026 which aims to deliver further significant improvements in cancer services.

Earlier this year, current CEO John McCormack announced his intention to step down in December 2017. Following an open and very competitive process overseen by PWC, Averil Power was selected as his replacement.

Averil has over fifteen years’ experience of policy-making, strategic leadership and campaigning as a charity leader, Senator, government adviser and President of Trinity College Dublin Students Union. She has a degree in Business, including non-profit management from Trinity College Dublin and a Diploma in Law from the Kings Inns.

As a Senator, she earned respect across the political divide as a powerful advocate, successful campaigner and effective legislator. She received a Woman of the Year award for her work on marriage equality and secured the unanimous support of the Seanad for her bill to give adopted people a right to their birth certificates. She also published legislation to regulate e-cigarettes and publicly supported other anti-smoking measures.

Averil has been Chief Executive of the Asthma Society of Ireland since 2016. Under her leadership, the Society has completed a successful restructuring, become financially stable, expanded its core services and been selected as a GAA charity of the year. Its high profile public awareness campaign on asthma deaths has also been shortlisted for an Irish Healthcare Award.

Welcoming her appointment, Dermot Breen, Chairman of the Irish Cancer Society said: "We are delighted Averil has agreed to take on the leadership of the Irish Cancer Society at this important time in our development.

Thanks to the generosity of the public, who provide 97% of our annual funding, our information, counselling and support programmes currently assist over 30,000 people a year. Our night nurses also ensure 2,000 terminally ill people get the care they need in their own homes.

With the number of cancers expected to double by 2040 due to an ageing population, the need and demand for our services is set to grow significantly in the years ahead. Averil’s energy and talent will help our team meet that challenge. Her campaigns experience will also strengthen our advocacy work and ensure the voice of cancer patients is heard by Government.”

Commenting, Averil Power said “I am honoured to be joining the committed and successful team at the Irish Cancer Society. The Society has a proud track record of helping people at every stage of their cancer journey. By lobbying Government and supporting the medical community, it has also helped deliver significant improvements in cancer screening and treatment. As a result, the overall cancer survival rate in Ireland has increased from 45% to 61% in just ten years.

However, our cancer outcomes are still poorer than other OECD countries and shamefully a person’s income and place of residence still have a significant impact on their chances of getting and surviving the disease. The Government has promised to change this in the new National Cancer Strategy but has not yet committed the resources necessary to achieve this. Together with all the team at the Irish Cancer Society, I look forward to using my political and campaigns experience to ensure they do so.

I would also like to thank the Board and staff at the Asthma Society of Ireland. I will continue to work with them to improve services for people with asthma before I move to the Irish Cancer Society in January and I know ASI will further prosper and grow under new leadership,” she concluded.