Shock and sadness as CEO and chair resign from major equestrian organisation

  • The Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) has “with great sadness” announced the resignations of its new chief executive and its chair.

    The RDA confirmed that both Kathryn England, who had recently started as CEO, and Rachel Medill, who had been in her role for nearly two years, are both stepping down.

    “We know that this news will come as a shock to many of you, particularly given Kathryn’s recent appointment and it clearly creates a challenge for all of us within RDA,” a spokesman for the charity said.

    The spokesman added that over the past few months, “a significant difference of opinion and concern around changes that have been made and the approach to change taken within RDA over the past couple of years” had become apparent. She said that for “varying reasons”, it was this difference in opinion that had led to Ms England’s decision last week, and Ms Medill’s this week.

    “The board is committed to understanding this challenge in full and to learn any lessons about how we take RDA forward,” the spokesman said. “We will keep everyone informed of developments.”

    The charity is looking to appoint Neil Goldie-Scot as interim chair and Lincoln Clarke has been asked to “pick up leadership responsibility in the meantime”. The RDA is holding a board meeting today (30 March) and will give an update tomorrow.

    Mr Goldie-Scot said: “This is a very difficult day for RDA and it is incredibly sad that we are losing Kathryn England and Rachel Medill. We want to recognise the incredible work and commitment of our staff and volunteers and we want to apologise to all of you for the concern this is causing. As a board we are absolutely committed to resolving our differences and building solid foundations for the future, and we will learn from any issues raised. RDA remains an incredible organisation and we will get through this difficult period to ensure we can continue to deliver our mission and support so many people who benefit from the work we do.”

    Ms England said she had resigned “with huge regret”.

    “You all know that I took up this role with real pride and enthusiasm,” she said. “However, I have decided that I am not the person to take the organisation forward at this time. I have met with the board who, whilst deeply saddened by my decision, have listened at length and taken my feedback seriously and I am pleased to hear that they are taking forward an action plan.”

    Ms Medill said she told the board of her decision with “great sadness”.

    “I joined at a time of great challenge in the aftermath of the pandemic but also of great opportunity as the organisation looked to increase its number of participants,” she said.

    “I’m proud of the steps we took to build a foundation for its long-term future and I hope that the forward-looking approach the board has taken will continue.

    “I want to pay tribute to the extraordinary nature of RDA – it improves the lives of thousands of people every day through the efforts of over 13,000 people. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to meet so many of these inspiring people and I wish the organisation every success in the future.”

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...