Sonia Chhatwal appointed as Executive Director of The Rigby Foundation

22 Aug 2023

Rigby Group, one of the UK’s largest private businesses, has announced the appointment of Sonia Chhatwal to lead the family’s charitable trust, The Rigby Foundation.

The Rigby Foundation is a registered charity founded by Rigby Group founder and chairman Sir Peter Rigby more than 30 years ago. It is operated on the principle that success in business goes hand in hand with putting back into society and our communities. The Rigby Foundation invests in causes relating to lifelong learning, health, and education. The Foundation operates separately from the Group but receives Group funding, currently pledged at £2million annually.

Sonia who takes up the new role on Monday, September 4th, has more than 25 years’ experience working with renowned corporate foundations, leading charities and blue chip companies. In her most recent role as Director of the DHL UK Foundation, Sonia was responsible for devising and implementing the Foundation’s first formal strategy, recruiting a new Chair and Board of Trustees, building a portfolio of highly impactful charity partnerships and engaging hundreds of employees in DHL Foundation activities.

As Executive Director of The Rigby Foundation, Sonia will continue to build on the trust’s work in the community, which over the past year has supported charitable causes including: Unite by 2022, Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games legacy appeal; South Warwickshire Foundation Trust’s cancer work; the creation of a sensory garden for the Shakespeare Hospice in Stratford Upon Avon; Place2Be, the children’s mental health charity; and becoming principal sponsor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Sir Peter Rigby, Founder and Chairman of Rigby Group, commented: “During the past 30 years, I have established and managed our family charitable foundation. It has been our principal and constant vehicle through which we have supported initiatives, investments, causes, concerns, and education, across a broad range of people, communities and interests.

“This has been often demanding of my time, and has included many notable projects, for example a seven-year engagement with an initial seven-figure trust donation, then planning, design and construction, and successful opening and delivery of Millennium Point, the largest public building project in Birmingham for many years, and the anchor for the regeneration of the east side of Birmingham. There are countless other examples where the foundation has made a difference and left its mark.

“Throughout, I would acknowledge the excellent support of my executive assistant Karen Morse, who has supported me in servicing the many requests the Foundation receives. It is time now, in the view of the Rigby family trustees, Patricia, James, Steven, and myself, to introduce a full time experienced person to manage the future strategy and day-to-day issues of our foundation and we are delighted to have selected Sonia Chhatwal.”

Steve Rigby, Co CEO of Rigby Group commented: “We are delighted that Sonia is joining us to build on the great legacy of work that has already been undertaken. I am confident that she will help take the Foundation forward, aided by the valuable contribution of colleagues across our operating businesses. In the year ahead we plan to set out a new family vision for philanthropic giving by the Rigby family and Group.”

Sonia Chhatwal, newly appointed Executive Director of The Rigby Foundation, said: “It is a great honour and a privilege to join The Rigby Foundation. I am proud to continue the work of Sir Peter Rigby and I am very much looking forward to working with the other family members and Trustees and to build on the positive impact that has already helped so many communities over so many years.”

The Rigby Foundation is unfortunately unable to respond to unsolicited requests for support.