Alzheimer’s Society CEO announces departure amid staff Twitter feud

The chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society, Jeremy Hughes, has announced he is stepping down from the organisation after 10 years in the role.

His resignation comes shortly after a Twitter page was created by Alzheimer’s Society employees to share ‘significant concerns about the charity’s leadership’, but the charity has stressed there is no connection between the two.

The Twitter page, @ASemployee, opened with the Tweet: “There are countless tales of bullying, poor leadership, etc. by Jeremy and Kathryn that have been ignored or swept under the carpet. We didn’t want to go public but after being ignored for so long we feel we have no choice. Share your story anonymously”

A number of tweets have followed, criticising the charity's "poor leadership", but the anonymous staff claim the account isn't designed to complain about particular leadership styles, but instead the "bullying, headline-chasing and ineptness that is preventing change for people affected by dementia".

Commenting, the charity's director of people and organisational development, Corinne Mills said: “Alzheimer’s Society is committed to a fair, open and respectful working environment and we thoroughly investigate any reports that members of our team have fallen short of this high bar.

"We have a robust internal complaints procedure and whistle-blowing policy - all complaints are thoroughly investigated to support and protect our employees and volunteers.

"However, we are not complacent and we will continue to review our procedures and training for employees, and do everything we can to ensure all employees are aware of the channels available to them to raise concerns, and they are encouraged and supported to do so. It’s really important to us to understand the concerns expressed by the Twitter account. I contacted them directly to encourage them to talk to me in confidence or raise concerns through a number of our other channels, including the opportunity to talk to our Chair, our Trustees or an independent body such as ACAS.”

Despite timing, the charity has stressed Hughes’ departure is not at all connected to the criticism and, like other decisions of this nature, has been planned for months.

“The announcement of Jeremy’s resignation marks his tenth year as CEO and has been planned for several months, with our chair and trustees aware,” a spokesperson for the organisation said.

Hughes is currently vice-chair of the World Dementia Council and a member of the NHS Assembly and during his tenure, has received a CBE for service to older people.

“As we celebrate our 40th anniversary, I am enormously proud of what we have achieved and privileged to have played my part. We must never underestimate how far we have come and our current strategy is well on track to make an even greater difference for more people than ever,” Hughes said.

“Finding the right time to hand over the baton is always difficult, particularly so when it involves such an inspiring team and organisation. Leading Alzheimer’s Society is without question the highlight and privilege of my professional life, and sharing this now allows time for a smooth handover to the next Chief Executive.

“So much of my skill and experience has come from people in and around Alzheimer’s Society, not least amazing people with dementia and their carers who have become guiding lights and also personal friends. I hope to continue to contribute to the dementia cause both nationally and internationally in the future.”

The charity’s chair of trustees, Stephen Hill added: “Jeremy has been a remarkable leader of Alzheimer’s Society and supporter of the wider dementia cause. After ten years in the role I respect his desire to hand over the reins and the Board of Trustees is determined to find a worthy successor to continue the amazing progress the Society has made under his leadership.

“His influence for the cause, both national and internationally, has been exceptional and he has been a driving force in ensuring that the rights of people with dementia cannot be ignored. I’d like to thank him for his fantastic contributions and hope Alzheimer’s Society will benefit from his continued involvement in the dementia cause over the years to come.”

Hughes will continue to remain as CEO for the charity until a new CEO is found.

Alzheimer’s Society said it is seeking an inspirational, visionary CEO and potential candidates should contact Saxton Bampflyde by 22 October.

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