Irene Khan quits Charity Commission board

Former secretary general of Amnesty International, which gave her a £530,000 payoff, steps down because of overseas commitments

Irene Khan
Irene Khan

Irene Khan, the former secretary general of Amnesty International who received a £530,000 golden handshake when she left the organisation, has resigned from the Charity Commission board with immediate effect.

Amnesty International publicly apologised last month for allowing Khan to negotiate an £850,000 payoff for herself and her deputy, after she was told she would not be offered a new contract at the end of 2009.

Peter Pack, chair of the Amnesty International executive committee, released a statement after the figures were made public in Amnesty’s accounts, saying his organisation had signed a confidential agreement with Khan in the hope of avoiding reputational damage and legal action.

Khan said she was stepping down from the Charity Commission board because she was finding it difficult to combine her responsibilities with an "assignment overseas".

She said she was no longer resident in the UK and could not give the position the time and priority it deserved.

Dame Suzi Leather, chair of the Charity Commission, said: "Irene's breadth of experience, and particularly her deep understanding of the issues affecting international charities and non-governmental organisations, has been of great value to the Charity Commission during her time on the board."

A spokeswoman for the regulator confirmed Khan had been paid £9,800 for her work as a board member since 1 January 2010. She remains a trustee of Save the Children International and the Manchester International Festival.

The commission also said John Wood, a consultant with the international legal firm Herbert Smith LLP, had been appointed to a second three-year term on the board.

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