Chief Executive of Big Society Capital stepping down to join the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment

The Chief Executive of Big Society Capital, Cliff Prior, has announced he will be moving on from the role after four years at the helm of the UK’s leading social impact investment institution. Cliff will be going on to lead the international champion for social impact economies - the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment or GSG – as their new Chief Executive.


Since joining in 2016 Cliff has led Big Society Capital to grow its impact, recording some notable achievements. It has now committed a total of £600m into funds investing in social enterprises and charities and helped bring in more than double that amount from other investors to a total of almost £2 billion, with £1.2 billion already deployed, reaching the lives of many people across the UK. 

During his leadership, Big Society Capital has worked closely with Access - The Foundation for Social Investment to provide blended finance for smaller charities and social enterprises. As a result, more than 1,200 organisations have benefitted from social impact investment from Big Society Capital. The wider social investment market has grown considerably over this time with more and stronger fund managers offering investment and the total size of the UK market growing to more than £3.5 billion in 2019.   

The Chair of Big Society Capital, Sir Harvey McGrath, paid tribute to Cliff Prior saying, “Cliff’s vision has always been that social impact investment could unlock the potential of social enterprises and charities to transform the lives of people in the UK. Cliff has played a leading role in building a movement in social impact investing and in creating the broader impact eco-system. He is leaving Big Society Capital in an excellent position to continue supporting this development of the wider social investment market.”

Cliff Prior, who will leave after four and a half years at Big Society Capital said, “It has been a truly great privilege to work with such a fabulous, purposeful and inspirational team. I am very proud of the work they have done creating innovative solutions to get finance to help address deep social problems such as homelessness, housing for vulnerable adults and complex issues like the poverty premium and regenerating places and communities. Now is the time for a new CEO to take the organisation to even greater heights and purpose, by building new connections with more impact investors and development partners.”

Prior who will take up his new role at the Global Steering Group in May added, “I am joining the GSG at a time when the impact movement is gathering great momentum. GSG was born at the G8 meeting presided by the UK eight years ago and is now working with 32 countries to bring impact investment to entrepreneurs, business, philanthropy and government and put us on the way to impact economies. It will be a huge responsibility to take forward the outstanding success of my brilliant predecessor Amit Bhatia.”

Sir Harvey and the Big Society Capital board will immediately begin a search for a new chief executive.


Contacts for Media Inquiries

Big Society Capital  - David Dinnage, Communications Director
Email -, Mobile – 07775 600582
GSG – Alasdair Maclay, Chief Funds Officer,, 07950235110

Information for Editors

Cliff Prior
Cliff Prior CBE has been CEO of Big Society Capital since 2016. Previously he was CEO at UnLtd – the UK foundation for social entrepreneurs – and Rethink, the UK’s charity for people affected by severe mental illness. Further back he was a director at the Mental Health Foundation and Stonham Housing Association, and worked in two crisis intervention counselling agencies. He has started new social ventures, co-creating Stonewall and Strutton Housing Associations, and supported the development of several support organisations in homelessness, health and social care, and diversity. Cliff has contributed to government programmes including the NHS modernisation agency, and as a regulator for medicines and healthcare. He has been a board member in foundations and leadership agencies, and mentors aspiring leaders for social purpose. Cliff is currently a board member of the Impact Investing Institute, the International Venture Philanthropy Centre, and Acumen Academy UK.

Big Society Capital
Big Society Capital is the UK’s leading social impact investor. We unite capital, expertise and ideas to improve peoples lives.

Working with expert partners, we seek to understand people’s needs first. Then, using our knowledge and capital, we collaborate and invest with fund managers who also want to create a better, sustainable future.

They, and the social enterprises and charities they invest in, create the impact. Our role is to bring the most relevant experts from our network to the table, generating ideas and connecting capital to where it’s most needed. With the others who have invested alongside us, we have made nearly £2 billion of new capital available to help improve lives.

We want to give more people and communities the chance to have an impact on the issues they care about – from affordable homes to vulnerable older people, and preventing mental ill health.

In this way, we create opportunities for investors and enterprises to generate systemic social change, not just today but for generations to come.

The GSG is an independent global steering group promoting sustainable development and advancing education in impact investment. The GSG was established in 2015 as the successor to, and incorporating the work of, the Social Impact Investment Taskforce established under the UK’s presidency of the G8.

The GSG’s National Advisory Boards (NABs) currently cover 32 countries, plus the EU. It has established strategic partnerships with leading global organisations such as UNDP and the Impact Management Project. It is an organisation of over 500 senior people, chaired by Sir Ronald Cohen, which brings together leaders from the worlds of finance, business, government, social organizations and philanthropy.

The GSG, a British charity, aims to bring solutions to social and environmental challenges through education by spreading the use of impact approaches in making philanthropic, business and investment decisions.