The National Obesity Forum has admitted that the main reason its founder, Dr Ian Campbell, left the charity in December was a difference of opinion over its future direction.
Dr David Haslam, clinical director of the NOF, said the charity could not stand by the comments that its chair, Dr Colin Waine, made to Third Sector last week, and added that he had personally apologised to Dr Campbell since the comments were published.
Dr Waine had alleged there were other reasons for Campbell's departure, including the fact that he had omitted to tell the board he was in a relationship with Felicity Porritt, the former acting chief executive, when she was appointed.
Porritt said she "made it very clear" to Dr Haslam in her first interview that she was in a relationship with Campbell. She said it was his responsibility to tell the other trustees.
Dr Haslam said it was impossible to get a true picture of which board members knew of the relationship, so the forum could not stand by Dr Waine's comments.
"The organisation would like to make it clear the primary cause of Dr Campbell's departure was a difference of opinion over the direction of the charity," he said.
Dr Campbell supported the plan favoured by Porritt, that the forum should promote obesity prevention as well as treatment.
They felt that the charity was too dependent upon its pharmaceutical company sponsors, which made it difficult for it to move into policy development around prevention.
But the other trustees opposed Porritt's strategy and are planning to keep treatment as the charity's sole focus.
Dr Haslam said there were enough other organisations already working on prevention.
- See News Analysis, page 10.