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Terrence Higgins Trust appoints interim CEO following firing of former chief

Terrence Higgins Trust appoints interim CEO following firing of former chief

Jackie Morton

The Terrence Higgins Trust has announced the appointment of an interim CEO following the sudden departure of its most recent CEO, Dr Rosemary Gillespie, ten days ago.

Dr Gillespie was asked by the board to step down with immediate effect on 10 July.

She had been in the post for only 15 months. Her tenure followed that of Sir Nick Partridge, who had been head of the trust – the UK’s largest sexual health charity – for over two decades.

The Trust announced in a statement today the appointment of Jackie Morton to the role of interim CEO. Morton will step down from her current post as a Trustee on the Board to take up the interim role, and will remain in post until the appointment of a permanent Chief Executive.

Morton worked in the NHS for 40 years until her retirement in 2011. She was Chair of HIV Scotland until earlier this year.

At the time of Gillespie’s departure, a Board spokesperson praised her for leading the Trust during ‘during a period marked by considerable change.’ It offered little information on why it had asked Gillespie to step down other than saying that ‘a change of leadership is needed for the next stage of the organization’s development.’

One anonymous source within the THT indicated to The Guardian that the pace of change was perhaps too great: ‘What the charity needed was a period of stability, but what it got was more upheaval.’

Dr Rosemary Gillespie
Dr Rosemary Gillespie

Gillespie herself has said that she was treated ‘unfairly’, and that she feels that some people within Terrence Higgins Trust, ‘preferred the organization to stay as it was.’

‘I was surprised and disappointed and I do not think I have been treated well,’ she told The Guardian.

‘I have done nothing wrong. A number of people have left since I joined, as you would expect during a significant period of change. Perhaps people should look more closely at the board’s leadership and the detrimental impact their leadership is having on people who use THT’s services.’

She went on to tell The Third Sector that the THT board, ‘does not have the stomach for the program of change I was brought in to deliver,’ and said she had been treated ‘shabbily’.

Terrence Higgins Trust have declined to comment on Gillespie’s claims.