ActionAid UK needs leader with ‘different skills’ to deal with challenges, says outgoing chief

Frances Longley is stepping down from the charity after just 13 months in the role

Frances Longley
Frances Longley

Frances Longley resigned as chief executive of ActionAid UK because “many of the challenges we face are quite different to those I was appointed to address”, she has said.

Third Sector revealed yesterday that Longley had decided to step down after just 13 months in the role. She told staff this week and will leave the charity on 30 June.

In a statement provided after publication of yesterday’s article, Longley said the charity needs a chief executive with “different skills” in order to succeed.

In an accompanying statement, ActionAid UK’s trustees thanked Longley for her work addressing “deeply entrenched organisational challenges”, citing both Covid-19 and recent revelations of racism and bullying inside the charity.

Longley said: “While I’m glad we have started to make progress on our programme of change, I’m conscious that many of the challenges we face are quite different to those I was appointed to address.

“I firmly believe that brave leaders need to recognise their limitations as well as their strengths. ActionAid UK now needs different skills to the ones I bring.

“I have decided that for the necessary programme of change to succeed I should stand aside and make space for someone new to take this vital work into the next stage.

“I remain committed to ActionAid’s success on this brave journey of change, and wish my eventual replacement and the brilliant staff team well as they navigate this path together.”

The charity’s trustees said: “During the past year Frances has led the organisation as we have responded to deeply entrenched organisational challenges, including the many difficulties brought by the Covid pandemic.

“Not least, together with trustees she has led our efforts to become the actively anti-racist organisation we aspire to be and address the deep pain that people of colour have experienced in relation to ActionAid UK’s track record on race and anti-racism.

“We are grateful to Frances for the significant contribution she has made to ActionAid UK over the last year. We will miss her and wish her well.”

Jon Good, chief operating officer at ActionAid UK, will be acting chief executive while the charity seeks a permanent successor to Longley.

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