RSPCA promotes Jeremy Cooper to chief executive

Cooper will take up the role in April, becoming the charity's first chief executive for more than two years

Jeremy Cooper
Jeremy Cooper

The RSPCA has appointed Jeremy Cooper as its new chief executive, ending a period of more than two years without a permanent leader.

Cooper, who will take up the role in April, has been promoted from director of corporate development at the charity, a position he took up in January.

Cooper spent three years before that as chief executive of RSPCA Assured, the RSPCA’s ethical food label.

David Canavan, the charity’s vice-chair, has been acting as interim chief executive since the departure of Gavin Grant, who stood down on health grounds in February 2014.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Cooper spent 12 years working for both Tesco and Waitrose, after spending more than eight years in the Royal Air Force.

His appointment comes in the wake of the resignations of three trustees, whose cited concerns included the RSPCA’s governance and the management arrangements.

One of the departing trustees described the appointment of Canavan as acting chief executive while he remained a trustee as an "appalling blurring of the governance and management of the RSPCA".

The Charity Commission has asked the charity to commission an independent governance review.

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA declined to confirm how much Cooper would be paid but said the information would be available in the charity’s annual report.

Based on when the charity has filed its annual documents with the Charity Commission, this means the information is unlikely to be publicly available until about August 2017.

The RSPCA had an income of £125.9m in 2014, according to the latest accounts available on the Charity Commission’s website.

Cooper said in a statement that it was a huge honour to be asked to lead the animal charity.

"I want to continue the process of ensuring the RSPCA is a modern, outward-looking organisation with a clear purpose and built on strong values," he said.

"My role will be to ensure we have a strategic plan that allows us to rescue as many animals in need as possible and to prevent cruelty wherever it takes place.

Daphne Harris, chair of the RSPCA, said: "I am delighted to have someone of Jeremy’s calibre accept the role of chief executive and, I hope, lead the RSPCA into a strong and successful era.

"Not only is Jeremy a huge advocate for animal welfare, he is a proven leader with the ability to inspire and drive organisations forward."

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