The board of the suicide-prevention charity Samaritans is discussing the appointment of Jeremy Hughes as its next chief executive after a national newspaper made claims of bullying behaviour occurring during his time at the Alzheimer’s Society.
Samaritans announced earlier this year that Hughes would join the charity in May after he departs the Alzheimer’s Society in April.
But The Guardian newspaper reported that Hughes had allegedly displayed bullying behaviour towards staff.
The newspaper also reported that the charity had spent £750,000 on non-disclosure agreements, which was strongly denied by the society.
The charity said it had a zero-tolerance policy towards bullying and discrimination and a robust internal complaints procedure.
The allegations have nevertheless prompted trustees at Samaritans to discuss Hughes’s appointment.
A statement from Samaritans said: “The welfare of our staff and volunteers at Samaritans is of the utmost importance and our board of trustees takes allegations of this nature very seriously.”
When asked by Third Sector if this meant the board was reconsidering Hughes’s appointment, a spokeswoman for the charity said: “Our board of trustees takes this issue extremely seriously and is currently in discussions about the situation.”
The Charity Commission has also reopened a complaint from 2018 about the Alzheimer’s Society’s handling of staff grievances that it failed to follow up properly at the time.