ShelterBox former chief executive denies gross misconduct allegations

Tom Henderson, founder of the disaster relief charity, says he was removed because the board disliked his 'forthright management style'

Tom Henderson
Tom Henderson

The founder and former chief executive of ShelterBox has strenuously denied allegations that he was guilty of gross misconduct and said he was wrongfully dismissed.

Last week, the international disaster relief charity issued a statement in which it claimed Tom Henderson had been removed as chief executive after he had tried to place an order for equipment worth £650,000 with a firm connected with his son John.

But Tom Henderson, who was on a trip to the Far East at the time of the announcement, told Third Sector today that he had done nothing wrong.

"A report had been carried out earlier this year into ShelterBox’s dealings with my son," he said. "It concluded that everything had been done in the best interests of the charity and that everything bought from my son had been purchased at cost or less."

After the report had been concluded, he said he was told by ShelterBox that he had "nothing to worry about" and that he should be "very proud" of his son.

Henderson said that he believed that the real reason for his departure was a personality clash with the board. He said the board did not agree with his "forthright management style" and that the investigation has been used as an "opportunity to get him out of the door".

Henderson who founded ShelterBox 12 years ago, said he had been advised he had been wrongfully dismissed and was taking the charity to an employment tribunal next year.

He also told Third Sector he intended to set up another disaster relief charity. "The new charity will help provide water, sanitation and medical facilities," he said. "I’ve formed close relationships with a number of other agencies over the years that I’m now hoping to work with."

A ShelterBox spokeswoman said: "The board of trustees worked with Mr Henderson for months to resolve a number of matters around his capability and conduct until they unanimously agreed that he could no longer be chief executive."

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