12 October 2020

Bob Reitemeier CBE to step down after five years as I CAN Chief Executive

Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive of I CAN, is to stand down after five years in the role after deciding to retire from full time employment. Bob will continue to be involved in organisations and social causes through non-executive positions and volunteering.

Bob will remain in post until 31 March 2021. The recruitment for the next Chief Executive will be led by I CAN’s Chairman Roy Blatchford.

The national charity has seen significant growth and expansion into new services during Bob’s tenure as Chief Executive. Key milestones include:

  • Producing the ground-breaking report on the state of the nation’s speech, language and communication services - Bercow: Ten Years On, in partnership with the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. This report played a crucial role in demonstrating the critical importance of children’s language development and helped increase Government investment in services.
  • Initiating a training programme of over 20 projects per year across the country, directly reaching over 6,000 professionals in the children’s workforce and equipping them to support children’s language development.
  • Expanding the I CAN Talk Boost language interventions to support over 80,000 children every year who were behind in their language development, to catch up to their peers and achieve age-related levels of speech, language and communication.
  • Continuous development of I CAN’s two residential special schools supporting children and young people with the most severe and complex language needs. Both schools have consistently received outstanding or good Ofsted judgements, and provide high quality care, education, and therapy enabling children to fulfil their potential.
  • Providing expert advice and support to thousands of parents of children with language difficulties through I CAN’s dedicated Enquiry Line and the launching of a new teletherapy service for families to provide online speech and language therapy. Over 1.3 million parents and practitioners visit I CAN’s Talking Point website each year for information on language development.

Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive of I CAN, said:

"After a career spanning 40 years living and working in the United States, Africa, Asia and 26 years in England, the last five with I CAN, it is time for me to enter the next phase of life. It has been an absolute privilege to serve I CAN and most importantly the hundreds of children in Dawn House and Meath Schools, and the thousands of other children, young people and families we support through our projects, training materials and Enquiry Line and websites. Helping develop children’s language is critical for our nation, but especially for the hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged children that so desperately require assistance."

Roy Blatchford, I CAN’s Chair of the Board of Trustees said:

“We are incredibly grateful to Bob for his leadership, direction and dedication in spearheading I CAN’s support services to children and young people with communication difficulties, their families and engaging with the professionals and practitioners who work within the sector. Bob leaves I CAN better prepared, more adept and agile to react and respond to the challenges the future brings. I would like to thank Bob on behalf of the trustees and everyone who supports I CAN, and wish him well as he embraces retirement.”

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