EXCLUSIVE: Bluebird Care MD steps down, joins Cera as COO


Yvonne Hignell has stepped down from her role as managing director of Bluebird Care, after 18 months at the helm.

Hignell has moved on from the company to join technology-enabled home care provider Cera as chief operating officer.

Speaking to Home Care Insight after starting in the role on Monday (April 6), she said it was a “truly exciting prospect” to be joining Cera at a “pinnacle time” in its development.

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“Even in the face of current challenges, Cera continues to innovate and push boundaries,” she said.

“Our industry has been transformed over the past few years and there has never been a more important moment to truly shape the care sector. With the levels of demand and interest from candidates we are experiencing, we are confident we will redefine what 21st century care looks like.” 

Bluebird Care said its director of finance and operations, Wayne Smith, will take over as acting managing director while it determines its longer-term requirements.

A spokesperson added: “We are incredibly grateful and thankful to Yvonne for her leadership over the last 18 months. During her time with us, she has helped support the Bluebird Care brand by enhancing overall network and owner collaboration and improved support centre engagement.”

Hignell has joined Cera with more than 20 years’ experience in health and social care.

At the age of 27 she applied for the role as founding CEO of Hallow in Surrey and grew the organisation from having no operational activity to turning over £1.5 million in six and a half years.

She then went on to work for a larger organisation as Care and Support Services director, where she looked after three divisions – older people’s housing, residential nursing care and community-based health and wellbeing.

Hignell joined Bluebird Care as operations director in March 2018 and was promoted to managing director seven months later.

Commenting on Hignell’s new role, Dr Ben Maruthappu, CEO and co-founder of Cera, said: “With 20 years in the sector and over ten years’ experience in senior roles, Yvonne understands how fundamental social care is to society and the wider UK economy, while bringing a wealth of expertise and a clear ambition to revolutionise the industry.

“Her advocacy for social care, its workforce and users make her a clear fit for Cera, as we continue to cement the company as a leader in the care sector.”

Last month, Cera announced that it has raised $70 million (£54m) to fuel its expansion and the national roll-out of its SmartCare technology platform.

The equity and debt financing round was led by US-based KairosHQ, alongside investors including Yabeo and Guinness Asset Management, and brings the total level of capital raised to date to $90m.

Tags : Bluebird CareCeraCera CareYvonne Hignell
Sarah Clarke

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