FROM RETAIL TO REFUGEES
A former high flyer at Aldi has left retail behind to serve suffering Christians
A former high flyer at Aldi has become the new Chief Executive Officer of Barnabas Fund, the major Christian charity which campaigns for the persecuted Church worldwide.
Hendrik Storm joined Barnabas last year after a dramatic decision to leave behind his promising career and high salary at the German discounter, because he felt the need to work full-time in Christian work. He told HEART, “I left Aldi in January 2015 with nothing in the pipeline. I knew about Barnabas because I’d been receiving their materials and saw the importance of their work, so I sent an email with my CV asking if there was a position available.”
Two interviews at Barnabas swiftly followed, and in February 2015 Mr Storm began working in the Barnabas projects department: “It gave me a great insight into our projects around the world.”
By September he was Chief Operating Officer and in November the resignation of Barnabas founder and former CEO Patrick Sookhdeo led to the trustees asking Mr Storm to be the CEO.
Hendrik Storm grew up in South Africa – his first language is Afrikaans – with Christian parents who were involved with supporting a ‘mission station’ which runs an orphanage and feeds 300 people every day.
His first degree was in finance, followed by a Master’s in accounting and financial management. Coming to Britain in 2002, the financial sector beckoned and he joined Aldi as an Area Manager in 2010. Rising through the ranks quickly, he became a Regional Operational Director with a typically high salary and “lifestyle accordingly.”
Married with two daughters, Mr Storm says it is his wife who has made sacrifices “which a lot of people wouldn’t accept” after his salary dropped considerably. “But my wife was great, really supportive.”
He is already used to working very long hours and says he is thankful to be using his training and abilities in Christian work. “I’m just glad to be here and getting on with the work.”
However, you are unlikely to see Hendrik Storm at Barnabas’s church meetings, which is how most come to hear of Barnabas’s work; that role of front man, filled so authoritatively for 22 years by Dr Sookhdeo, is being taken by Paul Mursalin, Acting International Director.
Mr Storm will be busy at HQ because there is no end in sight for the suffering endured by thousands of Christians. He says simply, “It’s going to get worse.”