Cats Protection names next CEO months after it was rocked by an animal welfare claims scandal

Cats Protection has appointed Duke of Edinburgh International Award general secretary John May as its next chief executive.

The appointment has been made as the charity recovers from a governance furore earlier this year, that saw its former chair Linda Upson resign after claims she was keeping 18 cats in her house in contravention of animal welfare regulations.

Upson quit as chair and trustee a week after the charity’s interim chief executive Charles Darley left after his relationship with Upson and deputy chair Angela Swarbrick broke down.

Interim management veteran Darley was also concerned over the charity’s rejection of a code of conduct for trustees.

Upson has since been replaced as chair by Kit Sturgess. Meanwhile, the interim CEO post has been covered by Dominic Sullivan, who is returning to this role as director of legal and estates for the charity.

May, who is also a former non-executive director of UNICEF, will take up the post in November.

He was also involved in the setting up of Teach First and is a former vice chair of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement.

“I’m absolutely chuffed to bits to be joining Cats Protection and look forward to supporting volunteers and staff as we work together to continue the development of this wonderful charity,” said May.

“I’ve shared my home with cats for the whole of my life and, as an adult, have always had a rescue cat as a companion.

“I’ve benefited profoundly from the charity’s support to cat owners and can’t wait to join the whole Cats Protection network in championing the organisation’s homing and neutering activities, its advocacy for wider feline welfare, its vital education work and the impact that Cats Protection has in and on society.”

Sturgess added: “John brings a fantastic range of skills and leadership experience to our charity.”

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