Permanent Charity Commission chair appointment not expected for at least six months

The government has indicated that it does not plan to recruit a permanent chair of the Charity Commission for at least six months, after extending the term of interim postholder Ian Karet until the end of June.

The role has been vacant since previous post holder Baroness Stowell stepped down last year.

She was to be replaced by the government’s preferred candidate, former banker Martin Thomas in late 2021.

But his recruitment ended in controversy after it emerged that he had been the subject of misconduct claims at a charity he chaired, Women for Women International UK.

Thomas resigned just days before he was due to take up chairing the regulator at the end of December 2021.

Board member Karet has been covering the role on an interim basis since March last year and was to have stepped down when Thomas was due to take over the role.

But following the government’s failure to replace Stowell with Thomas, Karet’s tenure as interim chair has been extended until 26 June.

The government has said that Karet’s term as interim chair has been extended “whilst the appointment process for a permanent chair is conducted”.

During the bungled attempt to appoint Thomas it emerged that Women for Women International UK was not contacted by recruiters, sparking concerns around due diligence, from among others the NCVO and Shadow Culture Secretary Lucy Powell.

The NCVO has called for the entire recruitment process to be re-run.

NCVO head of networks and influencing Alex Farrow said: “The NCVO and others called for the whole process to be rerun, and Ian Karet’s extension as interim chair suggests that is the govt’s intention”.

The DCMS has previously said that Thomas's appointment was made in accordance with legislation and the governance code on public appointments.

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