Justin Forsyth resigns from Unicef in wake of historic sexual misconduct allegations

In his time as chief executive of Save the Children, it has emerged, Forsyth had to apologise to three female members of staff for sending inappropriate text messages to them

Justin Forsyth
Justin Forsyth

Justin Forsyth has resigned as deputy executive director of Unicef after allegations that he sent inappropriate texts to junior staff during his time as chief executive of Save the Children came to light earlier this week.

Forsyth, who was chief executive of Save the Children between 2010 and 2015, issued apologies to three junior female members of staff in 2011 and 2015 after sending inappropriate messages to them.

Two reviews of the allegations, carried out at the time by Save the Children, led to apologies from Forsyth. But the charity recently said that after the apologies were made "concerns were raised with trustees that matters should not have been left as they were".

In a statement posted on his website yesterday, Forsyth confirmed he had tendered his resignation to Unicef, but denied that his behaviour at Save the Children was the principal reason for his departure from his new role.

"I want to make clear I am not resigning from Unicef because of the mistakes I made at Save the Children," said Forsyth’s statement. "They were dealt with through a proper process many years ago. I apologised unreservedly at the time and face to face. I apologise again.

"There is no doubt in my mind that some of the coverage around me is not just to (rightly) hold me to account, but also to attempt to do serious damage to our cause and the case for aid.

"I am resigning because of the danger of damaging both Unicef and Save the Children, and our wider cause, two organisations I truly love and cherish. I can’t let this happen."

Forsyth’s resignation comes after two weeks of revelations of sexual misconduct at aid charities, in particular Oxfam and Save the Children.

In the past two weeks, historic allegations of sexual misconduct made against Brendan Cox, former policy director at Save the Children, resurfaced in the media.

Cox was being investigated by Save the Children for allegedly sexually harassing female colleagues at the time of his departure in 2015.

At the weekend Cox resigned as a trustee of the charity he set up in memory of his murdered wife, the MP Jo Cox, and also of the not-for-profit company More in Common.

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