Press release

Two executive leadership appointments at Wellcome

Wellcome, the charitable foundation which supports science to solve urgent global health challenges, is announcing two new senior executive appointments.

Wellcome, the charitable foundation which supports science to solve urgent global health challenges, is announcing two new senior executive appointments.

Jimmy Volmink has been appointed Wellcome’s Chief Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, and Beth Thompson has been appointed Chief Strategy Officer.

Chief Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Jimmy joins Wellcome from Stellenbosch University in South Africa, where he has previously served as Dean of Medicine and Health Sciences and is Emeritus Professor of Global Health.

Jimmy began his professional career as a general practitioner in disadvantaged communities in rural Eswatini and in townships in Cape Town, sparking his interest in public health. He was awarded a Harvard South Africa Fellowship, gaining a Master’s in public health, and subsequently received a DPhil in epidemiology from the University of Oxford.

He became the founding director of Cochrane South Africa, part of the international Cochrane network that works to support evidence-based health care. In this role he helped build an evidence base on the effects of treatment for high-priority conditions in Africa, such as tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS, and helped inform policy and practice to address these conditions at national and international levels.

As Dean of Medicine at Stellenbosch University he led the organisation through significant change, implementing a strategy that enhanced diversity, inclusion and community engagement, and created a department of global health within the faculty.

As Wellcome’s first Chief Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Jimmy will lead its work to become an inclusive funder and will work in partnership with the whole executive leadership team to support Wellcome in becoming an inclusive employer.

Jimmy Volmink said:

“Inclusive research is stronger research. Considering a broader spectrum of lived experiences and insights helps mitigate bias, thereby unleashing the full power of science to address pressing global health challenges. Inclusion is also vital for ensuring cohesive and healthy teams, organisations and communities.”

Jimmy is expected to take up his post in October.

Chief Strategy Officer

Beth Thompson joined Wellcome as a policy officer in 2009, becoming Head of UK and EU Policy and Advocacy in 2017, Associate Director for Policy in 2021, and Interim Chief Strategy Officer in 2022.

Beth is a leading voice in science policy, having led work on a range of areas including pandemic preparation financing and clinical trials regulation. Her work influencing the EU GDPR to enable research with patient data while preserving privacy was recognised in 2017 with the award of an MBE. Beth launched and led Wellcome’s early work to improve culture in research and established its EU government relations function.

She is a member of the board of Protas, a non-profit seeking to improve randomised controlled trials, and on the board of Hubbub, an organisation that works to inspire practical environmental action.

Beth has a PhD in biochemistry and genetics and has previously worked at the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Wellcome’s Chief Strategy Officer oversees the charity’s policy, government relations and strategic partnerships teams, as well as its programme-management function, which ensures effective delivery of Wellcome’s mission and manages major internal projects.

Beth Thompson said:

“I am thrilled to take on this exciting role and play my part in bringing Wellcome's support for science to life. I look forward to building on our strengths in policy, advocacy and partnerships to ensure science can lead to real impact for those across the world who need it most.”

Beth has taken up her post this month.

Paul Schreier, Interim Chief Executive of Wellcome, said:

“As a global organisation, we need leaders highly skilled at working with others to drive change and create impact.

“Jimmy’s expertise in health and medicine including in disadvantaged communities will be invaluable in ensuring the broadest possible impact and reach for our mission of solving urgent health challenges around the world.

“Beth is a highly respected advocate for Wellcome’s work in the UK and beyond. Her depth of experience both of Wellcome and the global health landscape will be a great asset as we increasingly partner with others globally to help deliver our goals.”


Wellcome is a global charitable foundation. Based in London and Berlin, Wellcome funds research that transforms our understanding of life and health and is taking on three of the biggest global health challenges facing humanity: infectious disease, climate change and mental health.

Wellcome’s executive leadership team comprises 12 roles, including two employee directors.