CEO steps down at The Air Ambulance Service

CEO steps down at The Air Ambulance Service

23-Feb-2023 Source:

The Air Ambulance Service CEO Andy Williamson stepped down on 22nd November 2022.

It may be unusual to report on something so late, but there are particular aspects of this story that are listed below for readers information

It has transpired from our research that the charity issued a statement to an extremely limited audience THREE MONTHS AGO in November, which we have now received from them when we requested it –

Following more than 18 years at The Air Ambulance Service, Andy Williamson, the chief executive, has decided now is the time to do other things. Consequently, the Board of Trustees have agreed with Andy that he will step down as chief executive officer with immediate effect. We acknowledge Andy’s long service. With the development of our next strategy and opportunities such as the new Children’s Air Ambulance service, this is an exciting time. We can all be proud of our recent achievements and look forward to the future with enthusiasm.”

Facts that may or may not be relevant, with links where possible

  • No press release was issued to aviation press – it would have been run on if they had
  • No press release was issued to local press (eg see this Northampton Chronicle article), normally the primary people a charity needs to keep on side to ensure smooth future fundraising
  • It is most unusual for someone “deciding to resign” from a CEO role and then the Trustees agree to it “with immediate effect” unless there is a particular circumstance.  Ordinarily that circumstance would be stated to give colour to the facts, particularly for an organisation of £30M turnover.  No extra words are given to substantiate the “immediate” aspect.  A CEO would be expected to have an employment contract with a notice period.
  • Mr Williamson was central to a national press investigation started by The Times some years back which looked at the way he was using charity funds – The high life: Ascot junket and VIP service for air ambulance chief Andy Williamson – A charity boss faces an inquiry over claims that he exploited his role to mix with celebrities
  • On 1st February 2023 the charity announced the appointment of five new trustees, quite a large tranche of new faces in one go.  It is unknown whether the timing of these is relevant, compared to Mr Williamson’s resignation, but:-
    • Only three have so far been advised to Companies House and the Charity Commission, where the “paperwork” notes appointment dates of 21st December, some 5+ weeks earlier.
    • A fourth Trustee was also appointed on 21st December but was omitted from the press release.
    • Two of the five announced have not been notified to Companies House and the Charity Commission as at 23 February 2023
  • The charity is recruiting for a new CEO, but did not announce this until 6th February 2023, a significant delay of 76 days from Mr Williamson’s resignation, although the 1st February release  did refer to “Acting TAAS CEO Emma Peake”
  • The charity accounts for the year to 31 December 2021 show (in Note 6) that the highest paid employee (fair to assume the CEO) earned in the range of £140,000 to £149,999 and the Charity income for the year was £30.3 million.
  • On 1st February 2023 the charity also announced they were joining Air Ambulances UK, the “trade association” for airborne EMS in the UK.  Under Mr Willamson, the charity had been at a distance from this organisation, we understand


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