Sue Freeth to step down as chief executive of Combat Stress

Sue Freeth, who has been in post for five years, will stay until her successor is appointed

Sue Freeth
Sue Freeth

Sue Freeth, chief executive of the veterans mental health charity Combat Stress, has announced she is to step down after five years in the role. 

Freeth said in a statement that there was never a perfect time to leave the charity but she felt she must move on.

The charity said Freeth would help trustees in the search for her successor and is expected to leave once the new incumbent is in post, expected to be about January.

Combat Stress said Freeth had led the charity through “two significant change programmes”, including earlier this year when it was forced to scale back its services and staff numbers because of a substantial drop in government funding. 

Asked whether Freeth had any plans for what she might do next, a spokeswoman said she would be “exploring her options for her next leadership role in the charity or public sector”.

Freeth said she would leave the charity “well placed to grow and adapt to the needs of veterans”. 

She said: “There will never be a perfect time for me to leave Combat Stress, but I feel I must move on.

“During the next six months I will support the trustees in finding a new chief executive and will then ensure a seamless transition to support my successor in starting their journey with the charity.”

Giles Peel, chair of Combat Stress, said Freeth had made a “significant contribution” to the charity. 

“She has led the organisation during a period when the financial challenges we faced have been effectively addressed and the core offering to veterans has been modernised and transformed,” said Peel. “Sue has the full support of the board.”

In 2016, a Conservative peer made claims in the House of Lords that Freeth had sent bullying emails in a previous role at the Royal British Legion - claims that Freeth said were “inaccurate, unfounded and completely wrong”. The RBL also denied the claims. 

- This article was updated on 21 July 2020 to make it clear that the Royal British Legion denied the claims made against Sue Freeth in 2016


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