The Great Quaker Turnover Comes To London

Friends House LondonIn Britain Yearly Meeting, the “Mother Church” of Quakerism, the senior staff member and CEO is the Recording Clerk. This person heads up a staff of more than one hundred, and an organization that in 2009 had revenues of 9,000,000 Pounds (about $14 million US dollars). This staff is based at Friends House, which takes up most of a city block across from the busy Euston railroad station.

However, here is the statement from the Britain Yearly Meeting Trustees dated August 3, 2010:

“Britain Yearly Meeting trustees regret to announce that they have felt it right to accept the resignation of Gillian Ashmore, Recording Clerk. She feels it is time to step down and that a new person with different skills is needed now to take the work of change forward into the next challenging phase.

The Great Quaker Turnover

“We recognise and admire the considerable achievements of her time as Recording Clerk. We are working with the Assistant Recording Clerk, Michael Hutchinson and the senior management team to minimise loss of momentum and ensure continuity in the work and the process of change. We are also engaged in beginning to draw up the process of recruitment of a successor.”

Friends House London, sign
But that’s not all. Another senior staff member is the General Secretary of Quaker Finance and Human Resources. This position was created barely a year ago, when two earlier positions became vacant and were merged. Gilliam Palmer, who filled this dual slot, has also left this post recently.

Very cryptic announcements, these, picked up from the weekly journal The Friend, and then backed up with some web-searching.

Seems clear to me there’s some backstory here, maybe a lot of backstory; but it’s all stiff upper lip, and “nothing to see here” for public consumption. If we pick up any interesting bits about this executive exodus, we’ll fill you in.

Meantime, tho, the news means that the Great Quaker Turnover has come to London, perhaps unexpectedly, in rather a big way. Two top jobs at the “Quaker Vatican” have unexpectedly come open.

So if you’re an organizational executive type at loose ends, hop on it.

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