Donna Covey steps down as chief executive of Refugee Council

After five years in the role she has left the charity by 'mutual agreement'

Donna Covey
Donna Covey

Donna Covey, chief executive of the Refugee Council for the past five years, has left the job.

A joint statement from Covey and Douglas Board, the charity’s chair, said her departure on 31 August was by "mutual agreement".

"The Refugee Council has navigated one of the most challenging periods in its history, completing this summer major changes that make it more cost-effective and fit for the future," the joint statement said.

"The Refugee Council has changed a lot from the organisation that Donna joined as chief executive in May 2007. The organisation is entering a new phase in which it needs to look ahead to 2017. Reflecting the progress achieved and her own preference, Donna will stand down as chief executive by mutual agreement on 31 August."

The charity has seen its total income halved from £20m in 2009/10 to £10m in 2011/12. Its latest accounts, which cover 2010/11, attributed the fall to cuts in funding from the UK Border Agency for various services.

It has also gone through a major reorganisation, which resulted in redundancy payments totalling £656,000. Employee numbers went down from 291 in 2010 to 258 last year as part of the restructure. Three senior staff members left.

Covey’s position will be filled in the short term by Deborah Harris, the charity’s chief operating officer, while a replacement is recruited.

Board told Third Sector: "We are coming to the end of the strategic vision we started working on in 2007.

"The past few years have seen much change in the way our services are funded and delivered. We will now be working on our new vision for the next five years, which ensures we continue to be a charity that can successfully support refugees and asylum seekers to help them rebuild their lives."

In a statement, Covey said: "Serving refugees and the Refugee Council has been a high point of my career. Our staff, volunteers, clients and supporters have inspired me beyond measure even in the toughest times. The charity will always be close to my heart and I wish it well."

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