Su Sayer, founder and chief executive of disability charity United Response, will step down after 40 years in the role, the charity announced today.
She will remain in the role until a successor is appointed, and following that, she will continue as a director of the charity on a part-time basis.
United Response has a turnover of £69m and works with around 2,500 people in England and Wales who have learning disabilities, physical disabilities or mental health needs.
Sayer founded the charity in 1973 because she was dissatisfied with the treatment of people with learning disabilities in long term institutions.
“It has been my absolute privilege to lead this organisation for the last 40 years,” Sayer said in a statement. “I have tried hard to ensure that the values and the principles to which we all adhere are those that will lead to greater independence and fulfilled lives for everyone we support.
“At the same time, I have also strived to make sure that all of us who work for United Response feel that our skills and hard work are valued and nurtured.”
Sayer was awarded an OBE in 2000 for services to disabled people and a CBE in 2013. She also won the Outstanding Achievement Award at the 2003 Charity Awards and has been a Charity Awards judge since 2011.
She has served on the boards of several government bodies and charities, been a trustee of Save the Children and vice-chair of the Prostate Cancer Charity.
For three years she was chair of Acevo and has also spent time on the trustee board of NCVO.