Oxfam CEO to step down following scandal

Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam Great Britain. Photo by: ©FAO / Giuseppe Carotenuto

LONDON — The chief executive officer of Oxfam Great Britain, Mark Goldring, will step down at the end of 2018, the charity has announced, after three months of intense public criticism following revelations of sexual misconduct among Oxfam staff in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

Although Goldring did not work for Oxfam when the incidents took place, he said that from 2019, the charity should “be led by someone bringing fresh vision and energy and making a long-term commitment to see it through."

"Following the very public exposure of Oxfam's past failings, we have redoubled our efforts to ensure that Oxfam is a safe and respectful place for all who have contact with us. We are now laying strong foundations for recovery. I am personally totally committed to seeing this phase through,” he said in a statement.

"However, what is important in 2019 and beyond is that Oxfam rebuilds and renews in a way that is most relevant for the future and so continues to help as many people as possible around the world build better lives.”

Via Twitter

The charity has been rocked since a leaked internal report published by The Times newspaper in February revealed that several members of staff had been dismissed or allowed to resign over safeguarding breaches, including paying women for sex, in Haiti. Deputy Chief Executive Penny Lawrence resigned shortly after the story emerged, and the charity announced a slew of reforms in an effort to address the issue, having already strengthened safeguarding policies following the 2011 incident. Goldring himself came under fire for comments made during an interview about the scandal with the Guardian newspaper, for which he later apologized.

Goldring joined Oxfam as chief executive in 2013, having previously worked for the charity in the 1990s. He has also served as chief executive officer of Mencap and Voluntary Services Overseas.

Caroline Thomson, chair of Oxfam, said February’s revelations presented the “test of a lifetime” for Goldring, and that he “rose to the immense challenge, and his leadership has been invaluable through it. It is testament to his integrity and humility that Mark will see through the next few difficult months.”

He will continue to lead Oxfam GB until a successor is recruited and in post, the charity said.

The announcement comes after the resignation of Alan Parker, chair of Save the Children, last month, following a separate sexual misconduct scandal at that charity.

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    Molly Anders

    Molly Anders is a U.K. Correspondent for Devex. Based in London, she reports on development finance trends with a focus on British and European institutions. She is especially interested in evidence-based development and women’s economic empowerment, as well as innovative financing for the protection of migrants and refugees. Molly is a former Fulbright Scholar and studied Arabic in Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco.