The Fundraising Regulator has been forced to make a statement confirming that its chair, Lord Michael Grade has attended Presidents Club fundraisers in the past, and once asked comedian Jonathan Ross to host the event.
According to the statement, Lord Grade declared he had attended one of the now defunct Presidents Club fundraisers in 2006 when the Financial Times broke its story on Wednesday morning. The regulator said “anything requiring the chairman’s input” on the matter “was immediately deferred to the deputy chairman”.
The regulator made the statement following a story carried by The Times this morning in which it quoted Ross as saying he had hosted one of the Presidents Club fundraisers in 2006 as a favour to Lord Michael Grade, who was the then executive chair of ITV.
The Fundraising Regulator statement in full said: “Lord Grade actively speaks at a number of charity events each year and supports a wide range of causes. This has included asking Jonathan Ross to speak at the event in 2006. He has had no involvement with the organisation since.
“Lord Grade declared his attendance at the President’s Club twelve years ago to the Fundraising Regulator’s board immediately when the Financial Times story broke on Wednesday morning. Anything requiring the chairman’s input was immediately deferred to the deputy chairman.”
Lord Grade said: “I make many speeches for charitable causes and it is twelve years since I last accepted the Club’s invitation. I am shocked to hear how such a previously worthwhile event has degenerated since I last attended.”
The regulator said it had “written to the trustees of the Presidents Club to seek further information on the fundraising event at the Dorchester and their handling of it”.
Presidents Club story so far
The Presidents Club was exposed in a piece by the Financial Times on Wednesday, after two female reporters went undercover at a men’s only, black-tie charity dinner attended by 360 figures from British business, politics and finance.
The FT reported that 130 hostesses were hired for the occasion and instructed to wear “skimpy black outfits with matching underwear and high heels”. At an after party women were said to have been “groped, sexually harassed and propositioned”.
The Presidents Club Charitable Trust announced the next day that it would no longer hold anymore fundraising events and that the trust would be winding up. Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and a number of other charities also said they would return donations made by the Presidents Club.