Comic Relief’s chair Eric Salama has resigned after the charity signed a petition calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Comic Relief has admitted that Salama’s decision to resign “relates to a stance being taken on a public issue without any prior consultation with the board or Eric as chair”.
Last month the charity was among more than 700 organisations calling for an “immediate ceasefire in The Gaza Strip and Israel to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and further loss of innocent lives”.
“There are times in life when principles really matter more than any job,” said Salama in a statement.
He said it “was one of those times when management took an approach to an issue which I though was profoundly wrong and which I could not live with”.
Salama, a former chief executive of research firm Kantar, leaves the charity after three years as its chair. He had previously planned to retire in March 2024.
Trustee Tom Shropshire, who is general counsel and company secretary of Diageo plc, has become interim chair “until a permanent chair is appointed in due course”.
“On behalf of the Board and team at Comic Relief, I would like to thank Eric for all he has done for the charity, including steering Comic Relief through the Covid-19 pandemic and helping to shape our current strategy,” said Shropshire.
“We wish Eric well in the future and look forward to having his continued support in the important work being done by Comic Relief and its partners.”