New Acting CEO at The Donkey Sanctuary following resignation of former chief executive Mike Baker

Charity Commission:  ‘currently assessing concerns relating to the charity’s governance’.

Many may not realise the key part this charity plays in the economic life of East Devon.

It is a very large employer. Owl recalls reading a few years ago that it was the largest private employer in the District and it may still be. In 2019 the charity employed an average of 780 staff, though not all will have been employed in East Devon. For comparison EDDC full time equivalent staff numbers are around 460, and, taking a few companies from the 150 top businesses in Devon and Cornwall: MIDAS group of Exeter employs around 540; F. W S. Carter and Sons around 170; M.J.Baker Foodservices 120.

The Donkey Sanctuary has, over the years, bought five small farms in the district. By doing so the charity helps to maintain the traditional landscape pattern of small fields which might otherwise be uneconomic to maintain. – Owl

Philippa Davies

A new Acting Chief Executive Officer has been appointed at The Donkey Sanctuary, following the resignation of Mike Baker as CEO.

Meanwhile, the Charity Commission has confirmed that it is ‘currently assessing concerns relating to the charity’s governance’.

A spokesperson for the Commission said they ‘could not comment further at this time’, but explained that the concerns are being assessed as part of a compliance case, which means the Commission is seeking to establish facts. It is not a statutory inquiry, or a finding of wrongdoing.

This afternoon, Tuesday, June 29, a spokesperson for the charity confirmed that Mr Baker had stepped down.

They said: “Following the resignation of Mike Baker as Chief Executive of The Donkey Sanctuary, the Trustees are pleased to confirm the appointment of Marianne Steele as Acting CEO of the charity.

“Marianne is currently Deputy Chief Executive and her interim appointment will ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities.”

Chair of Trustees Stuart Reid said: “I thank Mike for his service and wish him well in his future, secure in the knowledge that in Marianne we have a very able and experienced leader with a long-standing commitment to The Donkey Sanctuary.”

“As expected from a charity of The Donkey Sanctuary’s size, we are in contact with the Charity Commission to keep them updated regarding Mike Baker’s resignation.”