John McDonald, who joined the charity in 2001 after spells with Oxfam, Orbis International and the Brain & Spine Foundation, said: “It has been a privilege to be part of the team that has supported tens of thousands of families to reap the benefits provided by a short break or day trip away from home.
“I leave the charity at a time when it is helping more families than ever before and as the importance of holidays, particularly for those who can least afford them, is being better recognised by governments across the UK.
“I hope that we have helped ensure that, in time, no child will miss out on the joy and precious memories that a week’s holiday with the family brings.
“I have particularly enjoyed our work with the travel industry, from the amazingly generous team at Tui Group to the individual marathon-running travel agent. Their support has contributed to the funding of nearly 40,000 family breaks over the past 17 years.
“Having recently led the organisation through a major strategy review and with the launch of the new “Together” campaign I know the charity still has important work to do. I wish the staff and trustees every success in the future.
“As for me, having spent 30 years in the sector, I expect I’ll maintain an interest in the charity world.”
Philippa Harris, the charity’s chair of trustees, added: “John has been central to the success of the charity.
“Not only have we continued to significantly increase the numbers of families supported, the charity has built an impressive range of partnerships with national and international organisations and has become an acknowledged centre of expertise in the field of social tourism. He leaves with our thanks and very best wishes for the future.”
The charity has started the process of recruiting a replacement chief executive.