JK Rowling charity boss leaves post amid ‘culture challenges’

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Georgette Mulheir with JK Rowling in 2015

The boss of JK Rowling’s children’s charity Lumos is to leave her post after the organisation said there were “management and culture challenges” that needed “immediate action”.

Georgette Mulheir has been chief executive of the charity since 2011.

The author set up the foundation in 2005 and donates some royalties to it to help children in orphanages and similar institutions around the world.

The charity will now set up independent reviews of its governance and culture.

According to The Times, some former staff members have complained of a culture of “borderline bullying” and nepotism.

A spokeswoman for the charity told the BBC in a statement: “The board takes allegations of this nature seriously.

“We were founded to help the most vulnerable people in society and we hold true to our principle of fair treatment for everyone today. That’s why we have commissioned independent reviews into the charity’s governance and culture.

“All necessary steps will be taken in response to any findings to ensure this is an organisation where everyone feels respected and valued.”

Rowling ‘supports the actions taken’

Announcing Ms Mulheir’s departure, Rowling’s agent and Lumos chairman Neil Blair said: “Recently the board of trustees has identified some management and culture challenges facing Lumos that require immediate action.”

He added: “The board believes the time is right for new leadership.”

Ms Mulheir will take on a “global strategic advisory role” for the charity in the coming months, Blair said.

The charity said the Harry Potter author had been made aware “of the challenges facing the charity as soon as they were brought to the attention of the board”. A spokesman added: “She supports the actions taken by the board.”

According to Rowling, as of 2016, Lumos has helped more than 17,000 children out of state-run institutions globally.

Royalties worth more than £2.6m from Rowling’s books Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages went to Lumos in 2017/18.

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