CEO of Save the Children International, Helle Thorning-Schmidt joined the organisation after a formidable political career. Formerly the Prime Minister of Denmark, Helle led a coalition government from 2011 until 2015. Helle was member of Parliament and the Leader of the Social Democratic Party for 10 years. She was a member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2004, and previously worked as an international adviser to the Confederation of Trade Unions.
Throughout her career Helle has tackled significant national and global issues, specifically with regards to children’s rights. Helle has been recognised for her commitment to helping children fulfil their potential by ensuring access to quality education and was invited by the UN General Secretary to be a Global Education Champion to promote the Global Education First Initiative. In September 2015 she was appointed to the Education Financing Commission led by Gordon Brown.
Recognised for her inspirational leadership, Helle was elected as Prime Minister at a time when Denmark was feeling the significant impact of the financial crisis. Her ability to galvanise leaders across multiple parties demonstrates her collaborative leadership style, which she brings to Save the Children. As CEO, Helle oversees humanitarian and development programmes that directly reach 55 million children in around 120 countries every year, including in some of the most difficult and challenging contexts. Save the Children has 25,000 staff and an annual budget of over two billion USD. Save the Children is committed to ensuring all children survive, learn and are protected by 2030. Helle’s commitment and leadership will mobilise the global organisation to ensure this ambition becomes reality.
She has a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Copenhagen and a Master’s Degree in European Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges. Born in Copenhagen, her mother tongue is Danish. She is also fluent in English and has a working knowledge of French. Helle is married with two children.