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Cats Protection chair quits after departure of interim CEO 

24 Jan 2022 News

Linda Upson has stepped down as chair of Cats Protection saying she does not want “recent news coverage to detract from the charity’s vital work”.

Last week the charity’s former interim chief executive also quit, citing concerns about governance and Upson’s large number of cats.

Today, Upson said that she believes all her cats are “happy and healthy” and emphasised her commitment to animal welfare.

Meanwhile, Cats Protection’s deputy chair emphasised trustees’ commitment to the Charity Governance Code. 

Cats Protection has also committed to an external review of its governance. 

Former chair: ‘I have dedicated 20 years to cat welfare’ 

Last week Charles Darley, former interim CEO of Cats Protection, said he had pulled out of a 12-month contract due to a “breakdown of trust”. 

He said he was unhappy about how his concerns about Upson keeping 18 cats in a three-bedroom house had been handled. 

In a statement this morning, Upson said: “I have today stepped down from my role as Cats Protection’s chair of trustees and my role as a trustee on the board because I passionately support Cats Protection and do not wish recent news coverage to detract from the charity’s vital work helping cats in need.  
 
“For the past 20 years I have dedicated my time to cat welfare through my unpaid, voluntary role, leading a volunteer-run branch and serving on the charity’s advisory council before joining the board of trustees in 2012 and becoming chair in 2017.”   
 
She said that the wellbeing of cats in her care had always been a priority. 
 
“Cat welfare and wellbeing have always been a paramount concern for me and I have always ensured my own cats and foster cats receive the best possible care,” she said. “My cats are aged between nine and 19 years old.

“I believe they are happy and healthy as each has their own feeding bowl, litter tray and other resources. They are all fully vaccinated and regularly taken for veterinary consultations. I also have no foster cats at this time.”  

Deputy chair: ‘Cats Protection takes governance seriously’ 

The deputy chair thanked Upson for her contribution and announced that the charity has committed to an external review of its governance.   
 
Angela Swarbrick, deputy chair of Cats Protection, said: “We would like to thank Linda for her dedication to our organisation’s work on cat welfare for the past two decades. 
 
“We realise this has been a difficult time for Linda particularly following her decision to step back from her duties as chair between mid-December 2021 and January 2022 to consider her position with the charity.
 
“Cats Protection takes governance seriously and our trustees follow the Charity Governance Code. The charity undertakes regular reviews and has committed to an external review of its governance procedures and processes to ensure that we are confident in delivering the next 10 years of our strategy so we can do the best for cats.”

Cats Protection’s annual income is around £70m and it employs about 1,000 people. It operates through a network of around 250 branches.

Cats Protection is a an unincorporated charitable association, which was founded in 1927. It has eight trustees, excluding Upson. Three of its trustees must be external to the charity and four must been drawn from its volunteer base. 

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