Unicef UK launches review after CEO quits amid bullying allegations

Unicef UK has launched an investigation after their executive director quit after just six months in post amid claims of bullying against the charity’s chair of trustees.

Sacha Deshmukh joined the charity in April from Smart Energy GB, where he had been chief executive since 2013. He has also served as chair of international aid charity War Child UK.

But in a statement released this week the charity has announced that it has accepted Deshmukh’s resignation.

It has also confirmed it is carrying out a review into allegations of bullying centred around the conduct of their chair Douglas Alexander, the former Labour cabinet member and MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South.

Alexander continues to have the support of the charity’s board.

Bullying

A Unicef UK spokesman said: “Sacha’s resignation was accepted on Tuesday and the very first formal grievance and time the board knew anything about these allegations was Wednesday morning. That’s when they immediately launched an internal review, which is being led by an external adviser and supported by two trustees.

“That’s already well underway and will report back as soon as possible.”

The spokesman added: “These allegations come as a surprise to the Board, as no formal complaint has ever been received regarding any of these issues.

“It would be wrong to discuss this further while the investigation is ongoing. Douglas Alexander continues to have the support of the Board who will continue their crucial work for children during this period whilst the review takes place.”

A statement from the board issued this week stated that it “announces with regret that it has accepted the resignation of Executive Director Sacha Deshmukh”.

It adds: “He will remain in post until the new interim leadership is announced. The search for a new executive director will start immediately.

“In the meantime, the board has every confidence in the strengths of the existing executive team and the dedicated staff as a whole, to take forward the charity at this vital time with its work focused on improving the lives of the world’s children.”

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