The chief executive of the Scottish animal charity the SSPCA has resigned with immediate effect, the charity has confirmed.
Stuart Earley, who worked for the SSPCA for nine years, stood down yesterday, citing the desire for a new challenge.
In a statement on the charity’s website, the SSPCA said he had agreed with the charity’s board to leave immediately to allow him to focus on his future plans and so the charity could move forward under new leadership.
A spokeswoman for the charity was unable to confirm whether Earley would receive a pay-off or what the new challenges he was considering.
Mike Flynn, chief superintendent at the SSPCA, and David Webster, finance director at the charity, will take over as interim joint chief executives while the SSPCA looks for a full-time replacement.
Earley has previously faced criticism in the media for his high wages.
The SSPCA’s latest accounts say that the charity’s highest earner, who is not named in the report, was paid between £190,000 and £199,999 in 2015, compared with between £210,000 and £219,000 in the previous year.
This employee also received pension contributions of £31,033, compared with £12,950 in 2014.
Harry Haworth, chairman of the SSPCA, said that Earley had made an "invaluable contribution".
He said: "Stuart has been instrumental in the positive transformation of the society over the past nine years and we are grateful for his stewardship, hard work and dedication."
According to the charity’s latest accounts, the SSPCA’s income and expenditure were both about £14.2m in 2015.