Penny Newman to leave Platform 51 less than two years after joining

Resignation of chief executive comes after a restructure that has saved the women's charity nearly £1m

Penny Newman
Penny Newman

The chief executive of women’s charity Platform 51 is to leave the organisation after less than two years.

The charity, known as YWCA until December 2010, confirmed that Penny Newman would leave in the autumn. She joined the charity in January 2011 after previously working as chief executive of the Jamie Oliver Foundation.

Her resignation comes after a restructure in the past 18 months to deal with the charity’s financial deficit. The charity had an operational deficit of almost £2m in 2010/11.

The restructure included the closure of centres in Truro, Plymouth and Northampton, the sale of a centre in Cwmafan, Wales, and the merger of two centres near Wolverhampton. Forty-five staff have also been made redundant as part of the restructure, which is estimated to have saved the charity nearly £1m.

Helen Wollaston, chair of Platform 51, said: "Now that the restructure has been completed and with a new strategic direction in place Penny has decided to resign from Platform 51 with effect from the autumn.

"Suggestions that Penny has resigned for any reasons other than her own are wholly untrue. And I am very sorry she has chosen to resign."

Wollaston said that the consultancy PwC would carry out an assessment of options that would "put the organisation on a sound financial footing" – it will report in September. Newman will work with the team on this project before leaving in the autumn.

The organisation is recruiting a new chair to replace Wollaston, who is leaving in November after four years.

Wollaston said: "I and the rest of the trustees believe passionately that Platform 51 has a vital contribution to make to the lives of women and girls across England and Wales – which in turn is good for society as a whole. It is our duty to ensure the long-term future of the organisation for the benefit of generations to come."

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