Gary McLelland appointed new Chief Executive of IHEU

Humanist Society Scotland is pleased to announce the appointment of Gary McLelland to the position of Chief Executive of the International Humanist and Ethical Union.

Gary McLelland is the current Head of Communications and Public Affairs at Humanist Society Scotland, and a Director of the European Humanist Federation.

Gary will take up the position of Chief Executive of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) in February 2017. IHEU is the global representative body of the Humanist movement, uniting a diversity of non-religious organisations and individuals.

Gordon MacRae, HSS Chief Executive

Gordon MacRae, HSS Chief Executive

HSS Chief Executive Gordon MacRae commented:

“Everyone at HSS is sad to see Gary go, but we are also delighted that his obvious talents as an ambassador for Humanism will be put to use on the global stage.

“During his time at HSS, Gary has transformed the influence and profile of Humanism in Scotland. He has demonstrated a great deftness for making Humanism part of the mainstream national conversation. If he can achieve even only a small amount of the change he delivered for HSS then we can look forward to an exciting future for IHEU.”

IHEU President Andrew Copson said:

“I am delighted to welcome Gary to the position of IHEU Chief Executive. Gary will be known to many of you through his work at the Humanist Society of Scotland and the European Humanist Federation. He is an experienced manager and dynamic leader who has led organisations and supported them to grow and develop.

“Gary will be building on the excellent work of our current Chief Executive, Carl Blackburn, who has set in place strong systems and funding for the growth and development of IHEU. In the little over a year he has been in post, Carl has put IHEU’s administration on a firm footing, created new strategic and fundraising plans and has brought in major funding that is taking IHEU to the next level. He leaves with the thanks of all the Board for his substantial contribution to the professionalisation and improvement of IHEU.

“I hope you will all join me in thanking Carl, and in giving Gary a very warm welcome to the post of IHEU CEO”.

Gary has many years’ experience within the humanist movement. He has a background in international development, and has worked for a global leadership training programme based in the Mercy Corps European Headquarters.

Gary has also previously delivered project work in Kenya and Malawi, and has policy development and service delivery experience in the UK public sector.

  1. For more information or comment contact Gary McLelland on or 07813060713.
  2. Humanist Society Scotland is the national charity for people in Scotland aiming to lead a fulfilling live based on ethical, rational and secular values. HSS has more than 14,000 members and our 110 HSS Registered Celebrant conduct more than 3,500 weddings and funerals every year. To find out more about our work visit
  3. Gary will be taking up the CEO post in February 2017. Carl will remain in post until then to ensure a smooth transition.


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