Kids Company will appoint new chief executive by October

17 Jul 2015 News

Camila Batmanghelidjh is expected to be replaced as chief executive of Kids Company by the end of October, and will become the charity’s president, chair Alan Yentob has announced.

Camila Batmanghelidjh is expected to be replaced as chief executive of Kids Company by the end of October, and will become the charity’s president, chair Alan Yentob has announced.

Yentob released a statement today, following today’s publication by the Cabinet Office of letters which reveal that Richard Heaton, permanent secretary to the Cabinet Office and first parliamentary counsel, wrote to ministers to warn them against giving more money to Kids Company.

Heaten wrote to Oliver Letwin, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and head of the department, and Matthew Hancock, Minister for the Cabinet Office, saying his concerns were so severe that if ministers awarded the grant he would report their actions to the National Audit Office.

Letwin and Hancock wrote back to say that they would be awarding the money anyway.

Yentob, who is also the creative director of the BBC, revealed in the statement that Batmanghelidjh will be “redefining her role within the organisation”.

He said: “She will be focusing on clinical innovation, which she has pioneered alongside her team and academic collaborators. This work will be disseminated internationally. She will also continue to play a central role in the future development of Kids Company whilst maintaining her clinical work, advocacy and fundraising.”

He said that these responsibilities will be “enshrined in the new role of president of Kids Company, in what will be her 20th year of leading the organisation”.

Yentob revealed that a formal search for a new full time chief executive is now under way, and that the charity aims to have a new chief executive in post by 31 October.

The statement also revealed the appointment of four philanthropists who have “made a considerable financial and practical contribution to the organisation” to the charity’s trustee board. These are Stuart Roden, John Freida, William de Winton and Nick Lawson.

Yentob said of these appointments: “Alongside the current trustees they bring extensive business experience to the board as well as new opportunities for fundraising.”

Restructure

He also revealed that Kids Company is restructuring in order to “maintain its commitment to the most vulnerable children, young people and families”.

He said that to “facilitate this transaction”, the trustees have appointed “restructuring specialist” Colin Whipp as interim chief operating office and interim finance director.

He said that Whipp “will be working with the senior management team to help build upon Camila’s vision as the charity enters a new phase”.

The statement also included pledges of support for Batmanghelidjh from a number of high profile individuals including Harriet Harman, MP for Camberwell and Peckham; Danny Kruger, chief executive of Only Connect; and Dr  Amanda Thomas, child protection officer at the Royal  College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Earlier this month Batmanghelidjh said she was stepping down as chief executive after a joint investigation by BBC Newsnight and Buzzfeed said that the Cabinet Office was withholding a £3m grant unless she stood aside.

She has said that moving into a clinical role and appointing a new chief executive has always been her intention. However she has not left the role at the current time.

The Charity Commission has said that it is in touch with the charity following media reports about its funding position.

It has also been revealed that in 2003 the government waived a £590,000 tax bill.
 

Leaked email

The Mail on Sunday also reported this weekend that it had received a leaked email which shows how Kids Company’s chair, Alan Yentob, who is also creative director of the BBC, contacted two treasury ministers about an unpaid £700,000 tax bill in 2003 – of which the majority was waived.

The email, which the paper claims was sent using a BBC email address, was sent to Batmanghelidjh as well as nine other Kids Company employees. In it, Yentob said that he had contacted Dawn Primarolo, the then paymaster general in the Treasury, and Paul Boateng, the chief secretary to the Treasury, about the tax bill.

He said that he intends to follow the “correct procedure” and write a letter to Primarolo explaining the situation and context, which she would then refer to the Inland Revenue (now HM Revenue and Customs).

Yentob said: “I intend to do that tomorrow morning with a little bit of help from my friends…”

The paper also suggested that Yentob is to “be axed” from his role as the charity’s chair, with the expectation that he will be replaced by donor Stuart Roden. The charity has yet to confirm or deny this suggestion.

Yentob has been reported as saying: “I have asked Stuart Roden, who I brought into the charity, to become our chairman in due course. We are working closely together. I will remain on the board and intend to support the charity for a long time.”

This story was updated on 20/07/2015 to include details of the leaked email seen by the Mail on Sunday.
 

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