The board of the British Equestrian Federation is promising an independent investigation into the “serious concerns” raised by its chief executive following her surprise resignation from the governing body.
Board chairwoman Joanne Shaw confirmed in a statement released on Thursday that Clare Salmon had resigned from the top role.
“In resigning, Clare has raised significant and serious concerns about culture, governance and the interaction of some of the Member Bodies,” Shaw said.
“The board considers that there are legitimate questions to be answered so is commissioning an independent investigation, on which we will report in due course.”
The federation operates as an umbrella group, with the various disciplines represented within it by largely autonomous groups.
Shaw’s brief statement gave no clues as to where Salmon’s specific areas of concern lay, other than her broad mention of culture, governance and member-body interactions.
Shaw said the board intended to take the opportunity brought about by the investigation to update its structure and processes to ensure the organisation was fully compliant with the UK Sport and Sport England Governance code.
She said it would also review the organisation’s cultural values and behaviour “in the interests of a stronger federation as a whole”.
“Both our funding bodies are aware of the situation,” Shaw added.
She said she has asked the federation’s head of finance, Sarah Bunting, to take over the role of accountable officer for the purpose of funding.
“The board will be considering the process to put an interim CEO in place until Clare’s replacement is recruited.”
She said there was a clear priority for the board to work with the Members’ Council to deliver the governance changes required by UK Sport and Sport England by October 31 this year.
“We remain confident that commitment remains high and we will be successful.”
Shaw said she had every confidence in the abilities and professional skills of the federation’s executive and staff team to continue their day-to-day work in the best interests of equestrianism.
She thanked Salmon for her outstanding contribution to the federation during the last year.
“Her leadership and vision for an inclusive, accessible and sustainable future for equestrianism were warmly welcomed and supported by the board.
“In particular, Clare was the driving force in reshaping the World Class Programme to ensure the confidence of our funding partners in granting ongoing funds.”