New Chair of the Diocesan Board of Finance appointed

First published on: 1st July 2024

Photo: (Left to right) Stephen Smith, New Chair of the DBF,  Nigel Pope, outgoing Chair of the DBF, John Jackson, Director of Finance.

At Diocesan Synod on Saturday 22 June, Stephen Smith, was approved as the new Chair of the Diocesan Board of Finance (DBF).

The Chair of the DBF is a key figure in the governance of the Diocese, particularly in developing the strategic vision and direction in close conjunction with the Bishops, Diocesan Secretary, and the Diocesan Support teams.

They play a key role in inspiring confidence in the financial management of the DBF, through engagement with the financial planning and reporting processes, as well as with churches, PCCs, Diocesan Synod, Bishop’s Council, and other bodies, such as the Church Commissioners and external funding partners. 

Stephen comes to the role with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the commercial sector, having worked for much of his career in mergers and acquisition and bank restructuring at KPMG.

A chartered accountant, he has over 25 years' experience working at board level as an executive, non-executive, adviser, and auditor with major public, private and charitable sector organisations, including as a board member and executive director at the National Audit Office, and is currently a board member of the Orbit social housing group.

He is a communicant of St Peter’s Church, Ightham, sits on the Finance Committee of Rochester Cathedral, and was a member of the panel that conducted the Independent Review of Lowest Income Communities and Strategic Development Funding that reported in 2022. 

Reflecting on his appointment, Stephen says he is humbled to have been entrusted with such an important role:

“I am honoured to have been selected to this role and to have the opportunity to help continue the excellent work already underway to help navigate the Diocese through these challenging times.

“I sense there is a real energy and vision for the Diocese among the leadership team. Like them, I am committed to helping the Diocese to grow, as I believe that growth is possible, and decline is not inevitable - there is much for us to be hopeful about.

“I am therefore very much looking forward to working with the Diocesan support team and the parishes, as we work together to change, serve, and grow to bring about the Kingdom of God in our communities.”

Matthew Girt, Diocesan Secretary,says:

“I am absolutely delighted that Stephen has felt called to this crucial role in the life of our Diocese. This is an exciting season for us as a diocesan family, as we continue to shape and define our emerging vision and strategy. 

“I am therefore incredibly thankful that we have someone in this role of such high calibre and commitment, and I look forward to working closely with Stephen as we seek to invest in the parishes to ensure there is a vibrant and flourishing Christian presence across the area of the Diocese, now and in the future.”

Stephen’s appointment follows five years of dedicated service by Nigel Pope, who stepped down from the role of Chair of the Diocesan Board of Finance in June, and to whom the Diocese is hugely grateful.

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