Lord Leitch, Chairman, Bupa,

Supporting communities through our foundations


Alongside the health and care that we at Bupa provide to our customers around the world, we work actively to make a strong positive impact on the communities in which we operate. This is a natural part of our purpose of helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives. As Chairman I couldn’t be prouder of the work we’re doing to support local communities across the Bupa world, and especially the wonderful initiatives led by our Bupa Foundations.

In Australia, Spain and the UK, these Foundations support health research and projects that make a real difference to local people. Funded by Bupa, they are one of our best-kept secrets – but their work is incredible. Connecting with local communities is a cause close to my heart and so I want to share a bit more about them with you.

In 2017 alone, the Bupa Foundations across the UK, Australia and Spain invested around £3.5m in research, health programmes and social initiatives that are helping create a healthier world and improving the wellbeing of people living in our local communities. And there’s more being invested through grants and match funding, too.

The Bupa UK Foundation, for example, focuses on the factors that underpin good health, such as healthy living, mental health, and the prevention of long-term conditions. With these focus areas in mind, we supported more than 50 projects in 2017, including Deafblind Scotland, which offers coaching for young people with dual sensory impairment, and CLIC Sargent, an online platform which brings young cancer patients together to share information and advice, helping them build a support network and a sense of community.

In Australia, meanwhile, since 2005 our Health Foundation has supported over 100 health and care projects, investing more than £16m in over 110 partnerships across the country, promoting better health for all Australians.

One of these is the hugely significant partnership between the Bupa Health Foundation, Bupa Australia, the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers Australia. The first output of this partnership is the First Thousand Days report, which highlights the importance to a child’s future health and development of the period from conception to the end of his or her second year. It’s a fascinating report, and I warmly recommend having a look here. It’s surprising just how crucial these formative years are, and as the proud father of a NN-month old it’s given me plenty to think about.

In Spain, the Sanitas Foundation has invested around £10m since it was set up in 1996, with a particular focus on improving the health and wellbeing of Spanish communities through inclusive sport.

Last year the Sanitas Foundation hosted its eighth Inclusive Sports Week, connecting those with and without disabilities to promote healthy lifestyles and the social integration of children with disabilities through sport. It’s a truly wonderful initiative that captures the imagination of thousands of people each year and bring our communities in Spain closer together, helping to create a truly disability-aware generation.

This is just a flavour of the great work led by the Bupa Foundations worldwide that is making a positive impact on the communities in which we operate – you can read more about these initiatives here. I encourage all Bupa customers, employees and communities to find out more and champion this work. The Foundations brilliantly reflect our Bupa values and are a vital part of our commitment to being a responsible and sustainable business.


About Lord Leitch

Lord Leitch was appointed Bupa’s Chairman in November 2006, having joined the company’s Board in May the previous year. He is Chair of Bupa’s Nomination & Governance Committee and a member of the Remuneration Committee. He is also currently Group Chairman of FNZ Group.

With a deep and broad knowledge of insurance and financial services gained over 50 years as a senior executive in a number of major international businesses, Lord Leitch is also a Life Peer and has been a Member of the House of Lords since 2004.

Growing up in Dunfermiline, Scotland, Lord Leitch began his career in London as a computer programmer, creating the first ever life assurance search engine programme in 1967. He remained in the insurance industry throughout his career, becoming Chief Executive of Allied Dunbar before it merged with Zurich Financial Services in 1998.

Lord Leitch brings with him an unrivalled breadth of experience as a leader in business with wide-ranging interests across societal issues. Among other roles, he has held positions including: Chairman of Intrinsic Financial Services; Chairman and Chief Executive of Zurich Financial Services UK, Ireland, South Africa and Asia Pacific; Deputy Chairman of Lloyds Banking Group plc; Chairman of Scottish Widows plc; Deputy Chairman of the Commonwealth Education Fund; and Chairman of the Association of British Insurers. He has also served on a number of plc Boards and in various Non-Executive Director roles.

In 2006, he undertook the Leitch Review of Skills and Productivity, advising the UK government on how to define the UK’s optimum skills mix in order to maximise economic growth and productivity. The recommendations became public policy.

A firm campaigner and champion for workplace diversity and passionate supporter of organisations that aim to make a positive difference across a wide range of areas. Lord Leitch has received the Prince of Wales Ambassador award for charity work. In 2017 he created the What Is More? Foundation, encouraging spiritual and multi-faith debate, while he remains a patron of the Stroke Association and the Medical Aid Films Charity, where he was formlerly founding Chairman.