The USPCA has confirmed that chief executive Stephen Philpott has been dismissed from his role with the charity on grounds of gross misconduct.
The board made the announcement “with great regret” adding that the decision “related to aspects of his management of the charity following a comprehensive review conducted by an independent consultant, a full disciplinary hearing and exhaustive appeal process”.
An interim manager has been in place for some months.
The interim chief will continue to work closely with the board as they look at the management structure of the organisation going forward, the charity’s board said.
The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has been kept fully informed throughout the process, it added.
Chair of the USPCA, Helen Wilson, assured members that its day-to-day work has continued despite the disciplinary process, and paid tribute to the staff who worked tirelessly to ensure that the service to animals has remained “exemplary during a very difficult time”.
In March the charity’s AGM was informed that following a full review of corporate governance procedures, new governance structures had been established “to ensure it was fit for purpose for the future within a much strengthened regulatory environment”.
It added at the time: “The outworkings of these new governance systems have led to issues of concern being identified with regard the management of the charity. This has led to the suspension of Chief Executive, Stephen Philpott, and following an independent investigation, the issuing of disciplinary proceedings.”
The charity’s operations continue as normal;
:: The animal hospital is open seven days a week
:: Neutering and spaying continues to be a priority
:: It has partnered with others to provide pet food via food-banks
:: The education outreach programme continues to focus on wildlife welfare
:: It continues to expose cruelty, a puppy trafficking campaign coordinating with a BBC Panorama probe.