Exclusive: Interim CEO quits Cats Protection citing governance concerns

Interim management veteran Charles Darley has resigned just three months into his year long contract to lead Cats Protection, due to his concerns around governance at the charity.

Darley was appointed as interim CEO at the charity in October 2021, replacing James Yeates, who stepped down in September to lead the World Federation of Animals.

But following a breakdown in Darley’s relationship with the charity’s chair, Linda Upson, and deputy chair, Angela Swarbrick, over governance concerns he has terminated his 12-month contract.

He has left after claiming the charity had considered but rejected “the principle of adopting a Trustees Code of Conduct” adding that he believes Cats Protection “is the only major animal charity in the UK” to make this decision.

Darley also claims that issues around governance at the charity had been raised within the charity prior to his appointment.

The relationship has broken down further amid concerns cited by Darley about
Upson’s “failure to adhere” to government cat welfare regulations, claiming she is keeping 18 cats in her three bedroom house.

He said this is “potentially very damaging to the charity and disastrous for staff morale”.

Darley has had interim stints as CEO as the Church of England, for the Diocese of Suffolk and as commercial director at the National Centre for Social Research.

Commenting on his appointment in October Upson had said that Darley “has a track record of leading growth and transformation across more than a dozen charities, after a career leading business transformation as a marketing and strategy director in a number of FTSE-listed companies”.

A spokesperson for Cats Protection said: “We can confirm that Charles is departing the charity, but we are unable to comment further at this time.”

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