Save the Children’s international chairman quits

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Save the Children’s international chairman has resigned amid what he described as the “complex mix of challenges” facing the charity sector.

Sir Alan Parker said he believed a change was needed, leading him to step down from his role eight months before his 10-year term was due to end.

Sir Alan, who has also quit the boards of Save the Children Association and Save the Children International, acknowledged that the charity’s UK arm had dealt with some “unacceptable workplace behaviour”.

The charity apologised earlier this year to women employees who complained of inappropriate behaviour by its former chief executive Justin Forsyth.

A leaked 2015 report from the charity suggested that Sir Alan’s “very close” relationship with Mr Forsyth, who left the charity in 2016, may have affected how he responded to complaints.

Brendan Cox, the widower of murdered MP Jo Cox, also admitted that he made “mistakes” and behaved in a way that caused some women “hurt and offence” when he was working at the charity.

In his resignation letter Sir Alan told colleagues: “In Save the Children UK we dealt with some unacceptable workplace behaviour, involving harassment, in our head office in Farringdon in 2012 and 2015.

“The process around Brendan Cox involved a disciplinary panel, including Trustees and an independent QC. The processes around Justin Forsyth were handled by HR and senior Trustees, and were reviewed by an independent law firm.”

He said he would work to assist “in any way I can” with a further review of the issues which is being undertaken by the Charity Commission.

He added: “If we do not, some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children will suffer.”

Pernille Lopez, speaking on behalf of the charity’s board, said Sir Alan had made an “immense contribution” to the charity in the past decade.

Save the Children benefited from Sir Alan’s “extensive knowledge and energy”, CEO Helle Thorning-Schmidt added.

She said: “As a trustee and now as Chair, Alan has worked tirelessly to help us grow to an organisation that works in over 120 countries to reach 50 million children every year. Building on this strong foundation, we will continue to fight for a world where every last child can survive, learn and be protected.”

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