An Austrian, Richard Pichler graduated from the University of Vienna in 1988 with a degree in Business Administration. Having grown up in SOS Children’s Village Hinterbrühl/Austria, he re-joined SOS Children's Villages in the same year to start his career in Asia.
His first assignment took him to South Korea, and shortly afterward, he moved on to Manila as National Director of SOS Children's Villages Philippines. In 1992, Richard became Regional Director of South East Asia.
In 1995, Richard was appointed Secretary-General (redefined to CEO in 2013) of SOS Children's Villages International. Driving the organization’s strategy, Richard led the process of developing SOS Children’s Villages across three key areas: direct care for children; strengthening of families with children in vulnerable situations; and advocacy for the rights of children, in particular of children who find themselves living within alternative care institutions.
Richard led several strategy and restructuring processes in the federation of over 130 member associations to strengthen its impact for vulnerable children around the globe. Together with the leaders of the other child-focused agencies, he was strongly engaged in influencing the SDG agenda.
In 2015, after 20 years as Secretary General/CEO, Richard stepped aside from this role and took on the job of Special Representative on External Affairs and Resources in May 2016. He currently represents the organization with the U.N., the EU and in other major international platforms. He initiates and promotes cooperation with other leading INGOs and develops funding contacts with major international partners from government, philanthropic and corporate sector. He is particularly focused on engendering cooperation among civil society organizations to increase impact for children.
Until recently, he was a board member of the International Civil Society Center in Berlin. He engaged with UNICEF to set up the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children. He is a sought-after speaker for conferences and panels in the sector.