CSV announces radical restructure of senior management

02 Jul 2014 News

The chief executive and finance director of CSV will step down later this year following a major business review as the charity tackles financial problems.

Oona Aitken, incoming chief executive, CSV

The chief executive and finance director of CSV will step down later this year following a major business review as the charity tackles financial problems.

The charity has said it faces difficulties including minimal reserves, no independent income stream, and a significant pensions deficit.

It has previously said it will also close its learning operation, putting 110 jobs at risk. It also plans to sell its office to pay some of its debts to its pension fund.

Lucy de Groot, who has been chief executive since February 2011, will retire in October. Jo Day, who joined in February 2013 as director of finances and resources, will also leave in October.

Oonagh Aitken (pictured) has been promoted to chief executive from October. She joined as director for social action and volunteering in April 2012.

Laura Doughty, currently deputy chief executive at Stonewall, will join as director of external affairs and fundraising. Kate Morris, currently head of group finance at the British Heart Foundation, will join as director of finance and resources.

Is Szoneberg has been promoted to director of volunteering operations, having been a senior manager at CSV. They all take up their new positions in October.

Jacqui Oughton, who has been managing director for learning, will also leave the organisation because CSV is ending its learning programmes, but will stay for an interim period to help with business transformation.

Sir John Shortridge, the chair of trustees, said: “I am delighted that following our major business review we have been able to secure a very positive, financially stable future for CSV. We have gone through a restructuring of the charity and we are now ready to make even greater impact.”

Aitken said: “Difficult decisions have had to be made, including the closure of our learning operations. But the continued hard work of staff and volunteers has cemented our position as the ‘go to’ volunteering and social action charity and we are now entering a new period of growth and expansion on a secure financial basis.”

‘Level of financial risk remains too high’

The charity’s recently published annual report reveals the charity has faced financial difficulties since the Cabinet Office stopped providing it with an annual strategic grant worth £1m in 2011.

In 2011/2012 CSV Group made an unrestricted loss of £2m. In the 16-month reporting period ending 31 July 2013 there was a further loss of £1.1m. Its income was £32.4m and expenditure £33.4m.

“So whilst the group has increased income, improved its performance and impact and made reductions in the level of the deficit, the overall level of financial risk that the group faces remains too high," the annual report said.

“In addition, the group has minimal reserves, no independent income streams and carries a significant pension deficit.”

The pension deficit stands at £9.7m. CSV is part of the London Borough of Islington pension fund. The scheme was closed to new entrants in 2009.

Closures of learning centres and relocation of HQ

CSV announced its plans to close its learning centres and sell property March.

Its HQ is moving from three buildings in Pentonville Road and King’s Cross Road in Islington to the Levy Centre in Hackney. CSV hopes to raise £2m through the sale to help fund the restructure and reduce its pension deficit.

The move to Hackney is expected to take place in November.

In March it said that with the closure of its 12 learning centres 110 jobs are risk. Today a spokeswoman told Civil Society News that: “A number of staff have already found new roles including within CSV and a number are hopefully transferring to partner organisations.”


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