Regulator 'assessing concerns' about The Donkey Sanctuary after departure of chief executive

The Charity Commission has said it is assessing concerns about the governance of The Donkey Sanctuary after its chief executive stepped down.

The animal welfare charity confirmed that Mike Baker, who had led the organisation since 2016, left on 18 June but declined to give any further details. 

Baker joined The Donkey Sanctuary, which is based in Sidmouth, Devon, but has several other centres in the UK, after six years as chief executive of World Animal Protection

Marianne Steele, deputy chief executive of The Donkey Sanctuary, has been appointed acting chief executive.

Stuart Reid, chair of trustees, said: "I thank Mike for his service and wish him well in his future, secure in the knowledge that in Marianne we have a very able and experienced leader with a long-standing commitment to The Donkey Sanctuary.

“As expected from a charity of The Donkey Sanctuary’s size, we are in contact with the Charity Commission to keep them updated regarding Mike Baker’s resignation.

“Due to staff confidentiality we are unable to provide further details.”

The Donkey Sanctuary operates across several UK sites, including in Manchester and Leeds, as well as internationally in Africa, the US, Asia, and Australasia. 

The charity’s latest accounts show it had a a total income of £43m in 2019, with a total expenditure of £44.5m.  

A Charity Commission spokesperson said: “We are assessing concerns relating to the charity’s governance and have contacted the charity. We cannot comment further at this time.”

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