Justin Forsyth resigns after misconduct cases

Unicef

Unicef executive director resigns saying negative stories would affect organisation 

23rd February 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Justin Forsyth has resigned from Unicef saying he does not want coverage of his past to "damage" the charities.

The former Save the Children chief executive faced three complaints of inappropriate behaviour towards female staff before leaving charity.

He was accused of sending inappropriate texts and commenting on what young female staff were wearing.

Forsyth said he was resigning as Unicef's deputy director because of the mistakes he made in his former role at Save the Children.

He added: “There is no doubt in my mind that some of the coverage around me is not just to (rightly) hold me to account, but also to attempt to do serious damage to our cause and the case for aid.”

It comes as former Save the Children staff member Brie O'Keefe said a number of staff were aware of Forsyth's behaviour but were afraid of the consequences.

She said Forsyth had created “toxic leadership" including temper tantrums, yelling and disrespectful behaviour, and that those who raised concerns would be sidelined from projects.

And she added: "One of the things that kept many of us from speaking out earlier was a desire to protect the organisation that we loved."

O'Keefe welcomed Forsyth's apology for the "incidences he created" but added: "He hasn't taken any responsibility for the culture he fostered at Save the Children."

Save the Children said it had commissioned "a root and branch review of the organisational culture" at the charity "addressing any behavioural challenges among senior leadership".

The charity said concerns were raised about "inappropriate behaviour and comments" by Mr Forsyth in 2015.

A spokesman for Unicef said the charity had not been aware of any of the complaints against Forsyth at the time of his recruitment in 2016.

"There have been no such complaints concerning Justin Forsyth at Unicef," he added.

Meanwhile, Haiti has suspended Oxfam GB operations in the country, as it investigates claims of sexual misconduct by staff in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.

The aid group said senior members of staff met officials from the Haiti government on Thursday and pledged their commitment to cooperating with the probe.

The two-month suspension comes after charity chiefs revealed Oxfam has received 26 allegations of misconduct since the Haiti sex scandal erupted two weeks ago.