Former Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt named head of Save the Children International

Country’s first female prime minister leaves politics and takes over at one of the world’s leading charities

The former prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who led her coalition government from 2011 to 2015, will succeeded Jasmine Whitbread as chief executive of Save the Children International, an umbrella charity organisation that works in 120 nations, the organisation has announced.

“This is a dream job for me,” Thorning-Schmidt told DR Nyheder. “I can hardly imagine a better place to be.”

Throning-Schmidt said she is bowing out of the Danish political world.

“I am leaving politics, and it does make me a bit sad,” she said. “This is a new chapter in my life. I will be working for a cause – children – that is very important to me.”

“Bold but simple”
Thorning-Schmidt said she looked forward to working on Save the Children International’s “bold but simple” goals that children do not die from preventable causes, have access to quality education and do not live with violence and abuse.

“In recent decades the world has made unprecedented progress in reducing child mortality, and the work of organisations like Save the Children has made a huge difference,” she said. “But there is still much more to do to rescue children from suffering and danger and give them a future.”

Rasmussen offers praise
Thorning-Schmidt, 49, led Socialdemokraterne for 10 years, stepping down after losing last year’s parliamentary election to her perennial Venstre opponent, Lars Løkke Rasmussen.

Rasmussen praised his political rival and wished her well.

“Congratulations Helle! Well-deserved! Thanks for everything you’ve done for Denmark and take care of the children,” he wrote.

London calling
With a staff of over 25,000 staff and an annual budget of more than 13 billion kroner, Save the Children International oversees programs that help more than 55 million children in 120 countries.

Thorning-Schmidt will start her new position on 4 April and will be based at Save the Children International’s headquarters in London.

READ MORE: Thorning-Schmidt snubbed for top UN posting

The former PM is married to Stephen Kinnock, a member of the British Parliament for the Labour Party.

In Denmark, Save the Children works with Red Barnet.