Richard Pichler grew up in the SOS Children’s Village Hinterbrühl near Vienna, Austria. He graduated from the University of Vienna in 1988 with a degree in Business Administration and then began his career with SOS Children’s Villages in South Korea. Shortly afterward, he became National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Philippines and then served as Regional Director of South East Asia.
In 1995, Mr Pichler was appointed Secretary-General (redefined to CEO in 2013) of SOS Children’s Villages International and led the development of the organisation across three key areas: providing direct care for children, strengthening vulnerable families and advocating for the rights of children, especially those who lost parental care or are in danger of losing it.
After 20 years as Secretary-General/CEO, he stepped down, and in 2016 he became the Special Representative for External Affairs and Resources. In this role, he represents SOS Children’s Villages at the United Nations, the European Union and in other major international platforms. He initiates, promotes and strengthens international cooperation with other leading international NGOs, key governments, and with philanthropic and corporate partners.
Mr Pichler serves on the Board of NetHope and on the Advisory Council of Tech for Social Impact, and he previously served on the Board of the International Civil Society Centre in Berlin. He worked with UNICEF and the CEOs of other major child-focused international NGOs to set up the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children and to advocate for children in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Jointly with Norbert Meder and CEOs of five other major child-focused agencies, he formed “Joining Forces for Children” to advance children’s rights globally by implementing the SDGs. Well known in the sector, Mr Pichler speaks at conferences and on panels about issues in support of the rights of children who lost parental care or are in danger of losing it. He is passionate about supporting children and young people in cutting through the vicious cycle of vulnerability, so that once grown up and parents themselves, they can care for their own children and do not need organisations like ours anymore.