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Bible Society chief to step down at end of 2015

Bible Society Group Chief Executive James Catford is leaving at the end of the year after 14 years in charge ...

Speaking about his departure, James said: "I have been thinking and praying about leaving Bible Society for some time and decided that I would step down from my role when a new Board Chair was appointed, which happened in July.

"After 14 years, it seems an appropriate, even biblical, time to go. It is very hard to leave the people and mission that I love so much. However, I am confident that Bible Society is in very good hands with James Featherby as Chair and Paul Woolley as Deputy Chief Executive."

During his time at Bible Society James has led the organisation through a period of major change and growth. In addition to establishing national advocacy programmes in the arts, education, the media and politics, and embarking on city-wide campaigns, Bible Society has set up Bible Society Resources Ltd, Theos, the King James Bible Trust, Lyfe, and Mary Jones World, a new visitor and education centre in North Wales.

Under James’ leadership, the organisation has also acquired Christian Resources Exhibitions, the Christian Booksellers’ Convention and Christian Research.

Globally, Bible Society’s work has expanded with significant new projects in Africa and China, where James is Vice-Chair of the Amity Printing Press, the world’s largest Bible printer. In 2011, James chaired the Renew project for United Bible Societies in order to restructure the global support organisation of the world’s 118 Bible Societies working in over 200 countries. During his tenure, he has championed a generous orthodoxy that has shaped Bible Society’s work and spirituality, and the organisation’s turnover has more than doubled.

Concerning his future James said: "My first commitment is to take a break with my hugely supportive wife Sue. I’m then planning on undertaking further academic study, quite possibly in the United States."

Commenting on James’ departure, Bible Society Chair James Featherby said: "It is difficult to thank James enough for his enormous contribution to the work of Bible Society. He has been a much valued spiritual leader, a hugely creative Bible innovator, and a very effective Group Chief Executive.

"We are delighted that he will be continuing to support Bible Society, and not least as Vice-Chair of Amity, as we continue to rise to the challenge of helping to make the Bible available, accessible and credible.’

Bible Society's President, the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, added: "Bible Society has gone from strength to strength under James Catford’s leadership. I have been enormously impressed by the way in which the Society’s mission and effectiveness has grown. It has been a great pleasure to work with James on a number of the Society’s initiatives at home and abroad. I particularly appreciated my time with him in China last year. James leaves Bible Society with our prayers and very best wishes for the future."

The Board of Trustees has begun the process of recruiting a new Chief Executive. Until a successor to James is in place, his deputy Paul Woolley will serve as Interim Chief Executive.

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