Battersea appoints new chief executive

Peter Laurie, who has been the charity's deputy chief executive since 2017, took up the position permanently yesterday

The animal rescue charity Battersea has appointed its deputy chief executive Peter Laurie as its permanent chief executive, the charity announced yesterday.

Laurie, who had held the position of interim chief executive at the charity since the departure of its former leader Claire Horton in January, will take up the role with immediate effect. 

Horton left Battersea after 11 years as chief executive to take up the role of director-general of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Laurie joined Battersea in February 2015 as director of operations, becoming deputy chief executive in March 2017.

He was previously the chief executive of the Retired Greyhound Trust, which he led from 2012 to 2015. 

Battersea said he would receive a salary of between £130,000 and £140,000.

He has been the honorary secretary of the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes since 2013, is a founding trustee of the Southern Thailand Elephant Foundation and a trustee of the grant-making Petplan Charitable Trust.

Paul Baldwin, Battersea’s chair, said: “Our charity has a vital role to play in delivering better outcomes for even more dogs and cats in the future, and Peter has the vision and ambition to help us identify and seize new opportunities."

He described Laurie as “well-known and respected in the animal welfare sector”, saying he had “led the development of Battersea’s work to support animal rescue organisations across the UK and worldwide”. 

In addition, Baldwin said Laurie had “played a leading role last year in working with sector colleagues and government to provide a framework for animal rescue and rehoming organisations to continue operating during the pandemic”.

He said he looked forward to working with Laurie to fulfil Battersea’s ambitious plans.

The 160-year-old charity is expecting the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic for animal welfare to be profound. 

Increased demand for puppies and kittens during lockdown has meant thousands of poorly bred animals hitting the UK market, a sharp increase in puppies being imported or smuggled into the UK, and what the charity called “worrying projections” of pet abandonment.

Laurie said he was “very honoured and excited to be asked to lead Battersea”. 

He said: “It’s a charity I am deeply committed to and a cause I am truly passionate about.

“As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, our staff, volunteers and supporters are as determined now as at any time in our history to be here for every dog and cat that needs us.

“We look forward to harnessing new opportunities and working in partnership with colleagues across the UK and around the world to create brighter futures for these wonderful animals”.

Laurie rehomed a greyhound named Wilson through Battersea in March 2020. 

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