The chief executive of the Blue Cross, Kim Hamilton, has resigned amid allegations made in the national press about her love life.
The chair of the animal charity, Zair Berry, said in a statement that the allegations were unsubstantiated, but Hamilton had decided to step down because of the damage caused by the coverage.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported at the weekend that Hamilton had allegedly forced out the charity’s fundraising director, Mike Crossley, after discovering he was in a relationship with another employee of the charity, Melanie Brown, with whom she had also allegedly been in a relationship.
Eight months later Brown committed suicide, the paper reported. It said there was no suggestion her alleged relationship with Hamilton was in any way linked to her suicide.
Berry’s statement, published on the charity’s website today, said: "We have all been deeply shocked by the recent speculative and inappropriate allegations made in the media relating to the tragic death of Mel Brown, which is still the subject of a coroner’s investigation. She was a much-loved colleague and all of us have been deeply upset by the newspaper stories. We are also aware of the distress this has caused Mel’s family, and they continue to be in our thoughts.
"The allegations that have been made in the press are unsubstantiated. However, the board of trustees and Kim Hamilton are aware of the damage caused by the coverage and sadly I must advise you that Kim has decided to step down and has tendered her resignation.
"She has done so with the best interests of the charity at heart and remains committed to Blue Cross, a charity which she continues to hold dear. I would like to thank Kim for all that Blue Cross has achieved under her leadership and I and the board very much regret that she has felt it necessary to stand down in these circumstances."