IoD head in surprise resignation

IoD pall mall

The boss of one of the UK’s largest business lobby groups has left abruptly just two months before the UK is due to leave the European Union.

Stephen Martin’s resignation from the Institute of Directors (IoD) comes less than two years into what is normally at least a three-year posting.

The IoD said his exit would allow new leadership to lead its transformation.

The group currently has 30,000 members, down from 40,000 at its peak before the financial crisis.

Mr Martin said it was “the right time to move on”.

The IoD said the director-general had told them of his plans to leave before Christmas but it had decided not to announce his departure until he had served his full notice period.

It would not disclose his exit package, saying if they decided to make it public it would be published in its annual accounts.

In 2017, the most recent accounts available, the IoD had a deficit of £989,000.

One of the business lobby group’s main purposes is to promote good corporate governance.

Racism row

The body was embroiled in scandal last year after its chairwoman Lady Judge was accused of racism, sexism and bullying. Lady Judge denied the allegations and subsequently resigned.

At the time, Mr Martin called her resignation a “victory for ordinary staff members”.

He is understood to have been behind a secret recording of controversial remarks made by Lady Judge, which contributed to the allegations against her.

Former investment banker Charlotte Valeur, who was subsequently appointed as chair, told the Financial Times earlier this month that Mr Martin would be held accountable if the IoD’s fall in membership was not stemmed.

Ms Valeur said on Wednesday Mr Martin had left with the IoD’s “best wishes”.

“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,” she added.