Governance crisis at leading charity as chief executive resigns

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​World's oldest animal charity plunged into disarray after resignation 

13th June 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

A governance crisis has gripped one of the animal charities after its chief executive resigned after just a year in the role.

Jeremy Cooper (above) stepped down from his post from troubled animal welfare charity the RSPCA after being brought in to stem falling membership and steady the organisation amid growing controversy over its approach to prosecuting pet owners.

Before Copper took over last year, it had gone two years without a permanent chief executive.

During that time it was criticised by its members and the media for being too political and not concentrating on its core remit of animal protection.

Cooper’s predecessor Gavin Grant stepped down in February 2014 due to ill health but was known as a passionate critic of foxhunting, badger culling and the source of many of the charity's more political statements. 

Grant called on farmers who participated in badger culling to be "named and shamed" and for those caught foxhunting to be jailed for five years. 

Cooper, conversely, was seen as a steadying influence and was expected to guide the charity into a period of greater stability amid falling donations and support. 

On taking the post last year he said the leadership had been too "adversarial" made a public apology for the charity's mistakes, saying it "would be a lot less political" in future.

 A spokesman for the charity said: "After four years with the society and over a year as chief executive of the RSPCA, it is with regret that we announce that Jeremy has decided to move on to pursue other business opportunities.  

"Jeremy has been an asset to the team and has contributed to the continued success of the RSPCA. 

"I am sure you will all join us in wishing him the very best for the future."

It has appointed chief operating officer, Michael Ward, as interim chief executive officer.

The charity has not yet completed a compulsory governance review that the charity had been ordered to undertake by the Charity Commission. 

It was ordered to carry out the review, an inquiry by auditors into the charity's organisation and structure, after two trustees resigned last March.