Press release

National Centre for Social Research appoints Michael Davis as new CEO

NatCen announces the appointment of its new Chief Executive.
  • Publishing date:
    22 May 2024

The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), the UK's leading independent centre for social research, announced today the appointment of Michael Davis as its new Chief Executive, joining NatCen in late August 2024.

Michael Davis

Michael Davis is currently the Chief Business Performance Officer at Kantar, the world's leading marketing data and analytics business, responsible for Kantar's business performance cycle and driving executional focus. Michael joined Kantar in 2017 as the Global Chief Operating Officer for Kantar Public.  Prior to that, over the last 10 years, he has been the UK Managing Director of research consultancy Ecorys and CEO of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills – a non-departmental public body.  Michael's leadership experience spans the private, public and third sector but has always centred around the potential of research to positively shape social and economic success.  

NatCen is a registered charity and the largest independent social research organisation in the UK. It partners with governments, NGOs, charities and other organisations to conduct rigorous, high quality social research, generating evidence that uncovers the reality of people’s lives in the UK. From climate change to health, NatCen delivers a variety of projects including complex, multi-year social surveys, addressing some of the biggest issues of our time.

Announcing the appointment, Sir Stuart Etherington, Chair of NatCen’s Board of Trustees, says, “We are delighted that Michael is joining the National Centre for Social Research. He brings both experience and enthusiasm to the role of CEO as the organisation moves into its next stage of development.

And, as our current CEO, Guy Goodwin, hands over the reins, I’d like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Guy and thank him for his contribution to NatCen’s growth over the last 8 years".

Michael Davis says, “NatCen has an incredibly strong sense of purpose – a belief that social research has the power to make life better. I'm really looking forward to working with all of the NatCen team to help bring that purpose to its full potential. NatCen are investing in technology and new capabilities to expand the scale and reach of their expertise. This is a great time to be joining an organisation with an outstanding 50 year plus track record and still with even more to offer in the years ahead.”

NatCen’s current CEO, Guy Goodwin, announced his semi-retirement in September 2023, and steps down at the end of May 2024. In the interim period, before Michael Davis takes up his new appointment, Gillian Prior, Deputy Chief Executive, will lead NatCen over the next few months.