Ruth Hunt has been appointed as the Chief Executive of leading gay rights charity Stonewall.

Ms Hunt has been Acting CEO of Stonewall since February, when Ben Summerskill stepped down, and was previously Deputy Chief Executive. She takes over as CEO with immediate effect.

Stonewall made the announcement today, describing Ms Hunt as the “clear winner” of the search for a new permanent CEO.

Ruth Hunt said: “I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to lead Stonewall, a highly-respected organisation that is synonymous with achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.  It is full of committed, intelligent and creative people and I am very pleased to be heading up such a talented team.

“There are so many opportunities ahead, as well – of course – as challenges.  I look forward to working with Stonewall’s many partners to develop what the team and my predecessors have already achieved, to advance equality and challenge discrimination both throughout the UK and abroad.  These goals we share with the lesbian, gay and bisexual community and it’s fundamental that we work together to achieve them.”

Jan Gooding, Stonewall’s Chair of Trustees, said: “Ruth is an outstanding choice for Stonewall – a bold leader with a naturally collaborative approach and a clear vision.  Stonewall is 25 this year and at an exciting time in its evolution.  We are justifiably proud of our achievements in equal rights for lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the UK and now the charity is ready to begin a new chapter.  Ruth has amply demonstrated that she has the right skills and experience to take us forward, helping us achieve real and lasting social change.”

On the day she was appointed as Acting CEO, Ms Hunt said she would not rule out conversations about working with the trans community going forward. Stonewall in England and Wales does not campaign or lobby on transgender issues, but states that it works with trans groups.

Speaking on the same day that Stonewall announced Mr Summerskill’s resignation, Ms Hunt, told PinkNews that “there are a lot of conversations to be had”.