Jeremy Hughes has stepped down early as chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society after newspaper reports alleged that he displayed bullying behaviour towards staff.
Hughes was due to leave the society in April to become chief executive of Samaritans but the suicide-prevention charity said last week that it could not proceed with the appointment in the wake of the allegation .
The Charity Commission reopened a 2018 complaint about the Alzheimer’s Society’s handling of staff grievances after The Guardian newspaper claimed the charity had spent £750,000 on non-disclosure agreements in recent years.
This was strongly denied by the society, which said it had a zero-tolerance policy towards bullying and discrimination and a robust internal complaints procedure.
In a statement made on Friday, Stephen Hill, chair of the Alzheimer’s Society, said recent events had “taken their toll” on Hughes’s health.
“He has therefore decided to step aside a few weeks early as chief executive,” he said.
Hill said the society was “deeply concerned about the reported experience of the ex-employees quoted in the media”.
“We are continuing to do everything we can to ensure all employees are aware of all the channels available to them to raise issues or concerns, and that they are encouraged and supported to do so,” he said.
“All complaints raised with us are taken very seriously and investigated thoroughly.
“The board and the society have zero tolerance of bullying and discrimination,” said Hill. “Our evidence shows we have not and do not use settlement agreements or non-disclosure agreements to stop anyone reporting any whistleblowing, harassment or discrimination complaints.”
Samaritans said last week that the decision to abandon the appointment of Hughes was not based on the allegations, which the charity was not in a position to judge.