Wednesday 30 January 2019 2:40 pm

Institute of Directors’ chief leaves in wake of racism scandal surrounding ex-chair

The director general of business lobby group the Institute of Directors has today said he will step down early, months on from a racism and bullying scandal that saw the resignation of the organisation’s chair.

Stephen Martin, who had led the IoD since February 2017, is stepping down with a year to run in his three-year term, “to enable new leadership to take on the next phase of the IoD’s transformation programme,” the IoD said today.

His resignation follows that of the organisation's chair Barbara Judge who left in March after being accused of racism and bullying, claims she denied.

It emerged that Martin, who was one of those that complained about Judge’s conduct, had secretly recorded a conversation with her.

Further reading: Institute of Directors appoints new chair as its bids to move away from racism scandal

Sir Ken Olisa, who stepped down as the IoD's deputy chair in the midst of the scandal, blasted the organisation in his resignation last year.

Olisa wrote: "Senior leaders covertly recording private conversations, systemically disregarding due process and leaking confidential material to the press have combined to make the IoD a laughing stock in the court of public opinion

In a statement today Martin said: “After a period of consideration, I feel that this is the right time for me to move on. Given the timescales involved, it makes sense to allow my successor an opportunity to take responsibility for implementing the IoD’s vision for the future of the organisation."

Charlotte Valeur, chair of the IoD, said: “Stephen leaves with our best wishes and thanks for the work he has done in his time as director general, throughout which he has displayed great commitment to the IoD and a passion for speaking up for our members. He has been at the helm during a pivotal period for the organisation and indeed the country, but we accept his decision to allow new leadership to drive forward the changes the Institute wants to make.”

Valeur was appointed to chair the organisation in September.

She has a background in corporate governance having founded her own firm – the Global Governance Group – that specialises in the subject.