Versus Arthritis chief executive to retire

Liam O’Toole, the chief executive of scandal-hit charity Versus Arthritis, is to retire.

During his time at the charity he oversaw the creation of the Versus Arthritis brand following the merger in 2018 of Arthritis Research UK and Arthritis Care.

According to the charity Liam oversaw “innovative approaches to service delivery and an increase in research spending” as well as the implementation of “hard-hitting myth busting campaigns, which have increased the recognition” of arthritis.

The charity’s chair Rodger McMillan said: “Liam has been a passionate and ground-breaking chief executive who will be hugely missed by the organisation. He has led the merger and creation of our new charity, the development of our research strategy and a world leading approach to funding pain research.”

O’Toole, who will stay on in post until his successor is appointed, said he is “immensely proud of all that we have achieved and now is the right time for me to retire”.

He added: “I am confident that my successor, together with the trustees and our great team of people will ensure that Versus Arthritis becomes a truly diverse, inclusive and vibrant charity that will always be there for the millions of people with arthritis. We must ensure that no one be left behind as we move beyond the pandemic – we can’t return to normal, we must strive for better.” 

Systemic racism and bullying

His departure comes weeks after the charity reported itself to the Charity Commission over reports from staff of racism and bullying within the organisation.

The charity has said it is “committed to stamping out systemic racism and will be open and transparent in our progress and support people affected".

It also acknowledged that racism “may not have been property addressed in the past and this is not acceptable”.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) is among charity sector organisations to have taken action to tackle racism this year.

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