Five members of senior leadership team at Amnesty to be made redundant

The five will leave the seven-strong team by October, with a transitional team in place until November

(Photograph: Michael Debets/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
(Photograph: Michael Debets/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Five of the seven members of Amnesty International’s senior leadership team are being made redundant after a turbulent few months in which a report criticised the organisation’s "toxic" workplace culture.

A statement from Amnesty said that the five would leave by October, with a transitional leadership team in place until a new coalition leadership team is appointed in November.

The senior directors who will leave are: Colm Ó Cuanacháin, office of the secretary general; Minar Pimple, global operations; Richard Eastmond, people and services; Tawanda Mutasah, law and policy; and Anna Neistat, research.

Amnesty said Julie Verhaar would remain as deputy secretary general and Thomas Schultz-Jagow as senior director for public engagement and growth.

A statement from Amnesty said the five departing staff would receive redundancy packages that were "less favourable" than those offered to more junior staff.

The redundancies were decided as part of a review – initiated by Amnesty’s secretary general, Kumi Naidoo – of the organisation’s leadership team prior to a recent independent review of its workplace culture in the wake of the suicides of two staff members.

The staff wellbeing report, which was published in February and based on a review carried out by the Konterra Group on behalf of Amnesty, found an "adversarial culture" in the workplace, failures in management and workload pressures that were causing health issues for staff.

The report said its attempts at supporting staff wellbeing were "ad hoc, reactive and piecemeal" and were not meeting the needs of most staff.

All seven members of the executive team offered their resignations to Naidoo after publication of the report. The resignations were not initially accepted.

The announcement of changes to the executive team comes after an announcement by Amnesty last month that it was set to make up to 70 compulsory and voluntary redundancies because it faced a £17m shortfall in its budget to the end of 2020.

An Amnesty statement released today said the new executive team would include a deputy secretary general, a chief financial officer, a senior director for public engagement and growth, and a senior director for movement, empowerment and support.

The statement said: "All members of the senior leadership team whose roles have been made redundant are entitled to the existing senior leadership team redundancy policy, which is less favourable than that of other staff.

"The senior leadership team aren’t automatically entitled to keep the full three weeks’ salary per year of service – it is payable by instalments over six months and would be reduced or cut off by any income they obtain if they get another job within six months.

"All other staff would get the full package without any mitigations."

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