Simon Gillespie, our Chief Executive, has today been announced as President of the European Heart Network (EHN).
Simon will start in this role immediately following his recent appointment by the EHN board. This unpaid position will run alongside his current role as our Chief Executive.
He takes over the presidency from Professor Staffan Josephson who has stepped down on retirement.
Statistics show that cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes heart attack and stroke, is the leading cause (46%) of death among Europeans, with more than 4 million deaths a year.
Worryingly, a much higher proportion of women (51%) die from the disease than men (42%).
Death rates from CVD are generally higher in Central and Eastern Europe than in Northern, Southern and Western Europe, and there are often large variations within countries.
The EHN, which has members in 24 countries, plays a leading role in the prevention and reduction of CVD.
Simon has been on the board of the EHN since March 2013 when he became our Chief Executive.
His first engagement as President will be to host members of the EHN from the Central and Eastern European Countries group later this month.
Simon said: “I am delighted to be leading the European Heart Network and would like to thank Professor Josephson for his outstanding contribution as President.
“Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Europe. Millions of lives are lost needlessly to these conditions, and the burden on individuals and families is immense.
“This alliance is a powerful voice in helping to reduce risks and ensure people receive the best possible support and care.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues across Europe, governments, and health services, to encourage people to lead healthy lifestyles and help stop the damage caused by heart disease and stroke across Europe.”