After 12 years at The New Humanitarian (and before it, IRIN News), including more than 7 years as its leader, Heba Aly has decided to step down as CEO. She will continue to support the mission of the organisation after her departure in early 2024, as a board member of its soon-to-be-launched US affiliate.

“It has been the privilege of a lifetime serving The New Humanitarian and watching it grow into the force of nature it is today,” Aly said. “TNH’s mission is more relevant than ever, and I know it will continue going from strength to strength. I look forward to passing the baton to a successor who can build on the team’s great work to date and take TNH through this next chapter of scale and sustainability.”

A multimedia journalist by training, Aly joined what was then IRIN News as an intern in 2007, working out of the Dakar office, covering West Africa. She then worked for IRIN as a consultant and freelancer, reporting out of Chad and Sudan, before joining as a full-time staff member in 2011, when she moved to Dubai to take on the role of Middle East reporter/editor.

Over the next few years, she would report on the humanitarian impacts of uprisings in Syria, the long-term legacy of the US invasion of Iraq, and aid dynamics in the Middle East, from the humanitarian tenants of Islamic Law to the rise of Gulf donors.

In 2014, when the UN decided to close the IRIN project, Aly became part of the small team that planned and executed its spin-off into an independent news organisation, before taking over the leadership in 2016.

In her time as CEO, Aly has tripled the organisation’s budget and raised TNH’s visibility in fora like TED, the World Economic Forum and the International Journalism Festival. Under her leadership, The New Humanitarian has produced award-winning journalism that has shone a spotlight on (and prompted funding for) neglected crises; uncovered aid scandals; triggered UN investigations; served as evidence in parliamentary inquiries; and opened the door to critical reflections about how best to help people in need. As host of the Rethinking Humanitarianism podcast, and in many convenings and speaking engagements around the world, Aly has been an important voice in conversations about how both aid and journalism need to change amid a growing demand for decolonised, participatory spaces – with different power dynamics.

Heba will continue as CEO until a successor has been recruited. The Board of Directors has developed a smooth, unhurried transition plan that will unfold over several months. Shortlist, a leading executive search firm with presence across Africa, Europe, and Asia, is supporting the search for the organisation’s next CEO.

Interested candidates can review the job description here and send a brief email with a CV or LinkedIn profile to:

Michael Pierson 
Associate Partner 
[email protected]

Simon Desjardins 
Partner & Co-Founder 
[email protected]

“When I joined the board, we were transitioning from a UN news agency that needed to position itself as an independent and credible news agency. We are not the same organisation today,” said Paula Fray, president of The New Humanitarian’s Board of Directors.

Today, TNH has stable and diversified funding, a talented team, a loyal audience, and a reputation as a trusted source of information about some of the biggest challenges the world faces.

“Heba’s contributions have been instrumental in shaping our direction and ensuring that we are on track to achieve our goals,” Fray said. “I can understand Heba’s desire to move on at this stage. We both feel comfortable that this is the right time. But we would not have arrived here without Heba’s incredible focus on detail, her drive and her commitment to getting the job done.”

When The New Humanitarian launches a new 501c3 charity in the United States in late 2023/early 2024, Heba will take up a role on its nascent board, focused on outreach and fundraising in the US.

For questions, please contact: Matt Crook: [email protected]

Read Heba's letter to readers here.

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