Old name, new purpose: why we’ve gone back to RNID

Our Executive team

Meet RNID’s senior leaders.


Mark Atkinson, Chief Executive (CEO)

Mark was appointed Chief Executive of RNID in October 2018 and has a track record of leading organisations to define their strategy, transform their operations and deliver their commitments.

Mark has predominately worked in social sector organisations leading business change, refocus and growth. Prior to RNID, he spent five years at the disability charity Scope, including three and a half as its Chief Executive.

Mark is also a Board Member at the Social Care Institute for Excellence and a Board Member of Habinteg Housing Association.

You can follow Mark on Twitter @MarkAtRNID


Harriet Oppenheimer, Deputy Chief Executive

Harriet joined RNID in November 2020 after a career as a management consultant at PA Consulting, where she worked across government, health and life sciences sectors, helping organisations shape and deliver strategic change. Her early career was in charities and the NHS.

Harriet’s move back to the not-for-profit sector is driven by a commitment to empowering lives and creating social inclusion, and her priority at RNID is to lead the delivery of our new strategy.

Harriet lives with her husband and three children. In her spare time, she is also Co-Chair of Trustees at New North London Synagogue (NNLS).


James Abbott, Executive Director of Corporate Services

James joined RNID in 2019 to lead the charity’s Finance, IT and Property teams and help modernise these functions. His current priorities include managing our financial planning through COVID-19 (coronavirus), the implementation of our new technology strategy, and reviewing the way we use our office space to embrace agile working. 

All of this helps makes sure that our charity is in the strongest possible position to improve the lives of the 12 million people in the UK who are deaf or have hearing loss or tinnitus. 

James is passionate about the charity sector, having previously worked at other national charities including Guide Dogs, Diabetes UK and Scope.

You can follow James on Twitter @james_abbott and LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/jamesabbottuk


Noelia Fernandez, Executive Director of People

Noelia joined RNID in 2011 and has over 15 years’ experience working within and leading multi-disciplinary people teams in the education, care and support, and purpose-led sectors.

At RNID, Noelia is responsible for leading the People Directorate, which consists of Human Resources, Learning and Development, Volunteering and Internal Communications. She is passionate about RNID’s cause and about making the charity a great place to work – a workplace that attracts the very best talent, rewards and recognises people for their contribution, and continually works towards creating an inclusive, happy and healthy workplace.

Noelia says: “We are going through an exciting change journey at RNID – we recently launched our new strategy and went back to our old name at the same time as reshaping as a direct result of Covid-19. I’m really excited about working with colleagues to develop a stronger sense of purpose and identity, and reviewing our activities and our ways of working to ensure we have even greater impact and remain relevant in future.”

You can follow Noelia on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/noelia-fernandez-chartered-fcipd-63884028/


Dr Ralph Holme, Executive Director of Research

Dr Ralph Holme became Executive Director of Research in 2018 after 15 years at RNID working in various roles. He leads RNID’s work to accelerate the discovery and development of treatments for hearing loss and tinnitus. Working globally, his team fund ground-breaking research, build future research capacity, and connect innovators to the knowledge and resources they need to succeed.

Ralph’s career to date has been focused on hearing research. Before joining RNID, he was a research scientist investigating the genetic basis of deafness at the Medical Research Council’s Institute of Hearing Research. He says: “Medical research offers hope to the millions of people who seek better hearing, and I’m committed to bringing this about.”


Steve Maiden, Excecutive Director of Governance, Risk and Corporate Resources

Steve joined RNID in February 2019. He has over 10 years’ experience in corporate governance in the charity and public sectors. Most recently he was the Company Secretary at the charity Scope, where he oversaw governance reform.

At RNID, Steve is responsible for our Governance, Risk and Assurance team and is the charity’s Company Secretary. He works closely with the Board of Trustees to ensure legal and regulatory compliance and has recently delivered a review of our corporate governance. 

Steve is also an Independent Director of Boccia UK, which oversees the elite-level of the Paralympic sport of Boccia in the UK.


Tim Willett, Executive Director of Funding, Brand and Communications

Tim joined RNID in 2019 to revitalise the charity’s approach to funding and stakeholder engagement. He has significant experience from both the commercial and charitable sectors, having worked with organisations such as Toyota, BT and Motorola before joining the RNLI and the broader charitable sector. 

Tim’s role at RNID is to review all forms of income generation, not just traditional fundraising, to underwrite the needs of the charity today as well as our future aspirations. He strongly believes that RNID can demonstrate a new approach to funding charitable delivery and has the opportunity to re-define and become, once again, a leading charitable body. 

Tim expects to be a part of the transformation of RNID in the coming years, reaching more people with greater impact to achieve our charity’s goals. He defines that success as hearing other organisations asking themselves, “How did RNID do that? It’s amazing.”

Alongside his paid work, Tim is a Trustee of the Royal Osteoporosis Society, an organisation promoting better bone health for everyone and help to live well with osteoporosis.

You can follow Tim on Twitter @Willett_TC and LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tim-willett