Angelina Jolie resigned from board of Halo Trust 'after dispute about payment for two trustees'

According to today's Times newspaper, the Hollywood star objected to two fellow trustees being paid to carry out a review of the landmine clearance charity's structure, remuneration and governance

Angelina Jolie: resigned from Halo Trust last year
Angelina Jolie: resigned from Halo Trust last year

The Hollywood actor Angelina Jolie resigned as a trustee of the landmine clearance charity the Halo Trust amid a dispute about two other board members being paid more than £120,000 for a review of the charity, it has been reported.

The Times newspaper reported this morning that Jolie, who resigned in May 2014, 18 months after joining the board, had raised objections to the charity's plans to pay Amanda Pullinger, the charity's chair, and Simon Conway, a trustee, to carry out a review of the charity.

An unnamed insider told The Times that Jolie had told trustees that if they wanted a review they should pay for it themselves.

The charity's accounts for the year to the end of March 2015 show that Pullinger and Conway were paid a total of £122,750 to carry out a review of the charity's "structural, remuneration and governance arrangements".

The accounts say that Pullinger received £26,000 and Conway was paid £96,750.

The amount paid to Conway included payment as an executive trustee after the departure of the charity's founder and former chief executive Guy Willoughby, the accounts say.

Willoughby resigned in August 2014 after he was suspended by the charity's board because of what the charity described as a "serious deterioration in relations" between him and the board.

"Simon Conway also filled the role of executive trustee pending the appointment of a new chief executive, including advising and coordinating the actions of the senior management committee, and visiting and reviewing, as deemed necessary, operations in overseas programmes," the charity's accounts say.

Conway was also provided with accommodation close to Halo's headquarters, according to the accounts. They say that consent for payments to both trustees was obtained from the Charity Commission.

Willoughby's successor, James Cowan, took up the role at the end of June this year, from when Conway will receive no further payments, the accounts say.

The charity's governance costs increased from £56,000 in 2013/14 to £350,000 in 2014/15, the accounts show, including £142,000 of payments to trustees.

The £350,000 total also included £59,000 for "professional costs for transition", £40,000 on its search for and selection of a new chief executive, and £31,000 for a governance review and a review of the articles.

The Halo Trust had an income of £26.6m and an expenditure of £27.6m in 2014/15, its accounts show.

The charity is understood to have been told that time commitments were among the factors that influenced Jolie's decision to stand down as a trustee.

In a statement, the charity said it was "always mindful of the need to spend the money that we receive wisely" and this governed the decisions of its board.

"Recent attention has focused on our governance and payments to trustees." it said. "After a period of substantial change last year, which included the stepping down of our long-standing chief executive, we conducted a governance review to strengthen our internal processes to become even more efficient and effective, ensure that we continue to attract and retain the highest quality staff and to allow us to build a solid foundation for future growth.

"Two of the trustees were tasked with carrying out this work and running the organisation. They received payment for this, which was entirely appropriate. The payments were agreed by the board and signed off by the Charity Commission.

"We are lucky enough to have the backing of a number of high-profile individuals, including Ms Angelina Jolie. Ms Jolie decided to stand down as a trustee of Halo in May of last year. She remains a supporter of the Halo Trust and our mission to rid the world of landmines."

The Charity Commission said it was reviewing its decision to take no action against the charity after a complaint was made.

A spokesman for the regulator said: "In giving the charity permission to pay its trustees, the test the commission has to apply is whether the decision is within the range of reasonable decisions available to the trustees. We cannot interfere with a decision that the trustees of a charity have lawfully taken, even if it is an unpopular one.

"I can confirm that the commission has received a complaint regarding the Halo Trust. The commission carefully considered the issues raised. Some of the concerns raised had already been dealt with, or were issues to do with the day-to-day administration of the charity where the commission cannot legally intervene. The commission found there was no further regulatory action it could take and advised the complainant accordingly.

"The complainant has requested a review of our decisions in this case and this is now under way."

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