Ruth Hunt has been announced as the new CEO of Britain’s biggest Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual charity, Stonewall.

Ruth Hunt has been acting CEO of the charity since February this year and before that, was Deputy Chief Executive. She joined the charity in 2005 as a Senior Policy Officer, having begun her career at the Equality Challenge Unit. Her appointment concludes a comprehensive and transparent search, throwing up a strong set of candidates from which Ruth emerged as the clear winner.

In May Hunt controversially refused to back a boycott of the Dorchester Collection, after it emerged that the owner of the group the Sultan Of Brunei said that he would adopt the Sharia criminal code for his country, the law carries harsh penalties for adultery and sodomy – which includes death by stoning.

Hunt commented, ‘The recent boycott of The Dorchester Collection has undoubtedly raised awareness in the West of the issues in Brunei but the crucial questions for Stonewall are whether there is a mandate for the boycott and would such a boycott work? We believe the answer is no, on both counts. I do not believe the somewhat beleaguered Christopher Cowdray, Chief Executive of the Collection, can somehow influence the implementation of Sharia criminal code in Brunei.’

Her statement led to a public outcry, which led to Stonewall changing its stance 3 days later.

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On the announcement of her appointment, Ruth Hunt said, ‘I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to lead Stonewall, a highly-respected organisation that is synonymous with achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. It is full of committed, intelligent and creative people and I am very pleased to be heading up such a talented team.

‘There are so many opportunities ahead, as well – of course – as challenges. I look forward to working with Stonewall’s many partners to develop what the team and my predecessors have already achieved, to advance equality and challenge discrimination both throughout the UK and abroad. These goals we share with the lesbian, gay and bisexual community and it’s fundamental that we work together to achieve them.’