Hostage International thanks John Smith for his long-standing support as he steps down from the board of trustees
Hostage International would like to pay tribute to the charity’s long-standing chair, John Smith, who has taken the decision to step down from his voluntary work with Hostage International after 12 years.
John first joined the charity as a trustee in May 2009, and has held the position of chair since 2015. John has steered the organisation from strength to strength, helping to ensure that those affected by the severe crime of hostage-taking are well supported.
Terry Waite CBE, president and co-founder of Hostage International, said: “John has been a significant driving force in expanding the reach of support for families and former hostages in several countries.”
“John’s energy, expertise and integrity has seen the organisation grow and develop to a new level.”
John has supported the growth of Hostage International in helping families across the world, not just in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, but notably in Canada, Australia, South Africa and Afghanistan to name a few. He was at the helm as the charity changed its name from Hostage UK to Hostage International in 2018 to reflect its international scope, and he was also instrumental in the formation of Hostage US and Hostage Italia.
Terry added: “We owe an immense debt of gratitude to John for his transformational leadership.”
John is handing over leadership of the board to former vice-chair Phil Bigley. Terry Waite invited Phil to help shape Hostage UK in 2005, after the tragic circumstances surrounding the kidnap and public execution of his brother, Ken, in Iraq in 2004. Phil has been a valued trustee for nearly 15 years and brings his expertise, knowledge of the charity and affinity for the cause.
John will continue his work in advising international organisations on security, intelligence and resilience management and is currently director of Spearfish Maritime Security Ltd. He has been in business since leaving the British Army where he served in general management and specialist roles.
He is a past president and life member of the International Security Management Association, a member of the senior advisory committee of the Overseas Security Advisory Council (a business support organisation sponsored and funded by the US State Department), former chair and emeritus member of the Risk and Security Management Forum and a founding fellow of the Security Institute.
Terry added: “Looking to the future – Hostage International will continue to provide expert and compassionate support to those affected by kidnapping or illegal detention, working closely with all of its international partners and supporters, as sadly our work continues to be in demand.”
Image: John Smith talking to Ingrid Betancourt at an event in 2019.