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Press Release 1 April 2020 Updated 15 January 2021

Energy Saving Trust announces new Chief Executive

Mike Thornton OBE assumes the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Energy Saving Trust with effect from Wednesday 1 April 2020 succeeding Philip Sellwood CBE, who, is retiring having successfully held this position since 2003.

Mr Thornton joined Energy Saving Trust’s Scotland team, based in Edinburgh, in 2002, and prior to accepting the role of CEO was the Group Director of Operations responsible for the delivery of all UK programmes operations.

A highly experienced influencer and decision maker within the energy and environmental sector Mr Thornton started out as an academic undertaking research as a PhD student in ecological genetics and holds a First-Class Honours degree in genetics from the University of Nottingham.

Mike spent three years as development co-ordinator for Friends of the Earth (Scotland) after periods as a systems analyst and software research engineer, with what is now Joseph Rowntree Foundation in York. Whilst in York, he was the Chair of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Conservation Committee.

For more than ten years he was the first director of Lothian and Edinburgh Environmental Project (LEEP now Changeworks), a regional non-government organisation working on energy efficiency, transport and recycling. In 2015 Mr Thornton was awarded an OBE for services to energy efficiency.

A spokesperson for the Climate Emergency Response Group (CERG), Mr Thornton works with like-minded leaders spanning Scotland’s private, public and third sectors, delivery organisations and membership bodies to address the climate emergency. August 2019 saw CERG’s 12-point plan for action acknowledged by the Scottish Government as part of its 2019 Programme for Government

“Mike said on his appointment: ‘’With long experience in the sector and having worked at Energy Saving Trust for almost twenty years, I’ve seen the climate emergency build.  It’s a great privilege to now lead one of the UK’s leading organisations addressing this emergency. I look forward to continuing to work with our partners and clients as well the Board, management team and our enthusiastic and talented staff to as the UK follows its path to net zero ”

Neil Sachdev, Chair of Energy Saving Trust said “As we enter uncertain times, having a CEO who understands the business and DNA of our organisation, we will ensure we continue to serve our purpose fully. Ensuring we continue to provide advice, support and help people reduce the amount of energy we consume and move closer to the national target of net zero.

We were delighted that Mike has agreed to take the over role from Philip and the Board look forward to working with him to drive a diverse and innovative agenda in the coming years.”


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Notes to editors:

Energy Saving Trust

Energy Saving Trust is an independent organisation dedicated to promoting energy efficiency, low carbon transport and sustainable energy use. We aim to address the climate emergency and deliver the wider benefits of clean energy as the UK transitions to net zero.

We empower householders to make better choices, deliver transformative programmes for governments and support businesses with strategy, research and assurance – enabling everyone to play their part in building a sustainable future.

About Climate Emergency Response Group

The Climate Emergency Response Group (CERG) is a collection of like-minded leaders spanning Scotland’s private, public and third sectors, delivery organisations and membership bodies.

The group aims to inform and influence the Scottish Government’s response to the climate emergency by providing practical, workable solutions that can be implemented – not in the future, but now.

Using its diverse experience, the group has drafted proposals for climate action. After launching in August 2019, the group’s 12-point plan for action helped shape the Scottish Government’s 2019 Programme for Government to support its target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2045.

Last updated: 15 January 2021