Trans charity Mermaids has appointed its interim head, Lauren Stoner, as its chief executive on a two-year, fixed-term basis.
Stoner became the charity’s interim chief executive in December 2022, replacing Susie Green, who had led the organisation for six years.
A spokesperson for Mermaids said the decision to give Stoner a two-year contract was to “enable the ongoing stabilisation of the charity”, before the conclusion of the Charity Commission’s inquiry, which was opened in 2022 due to concerns regarding the charity’s “governance and management”.
Mermaids also said it will also enable authentic consultation on trans leadership across the organisation and a well-planned and resourced recruitment process to appoint the best possible successor.
“We have more to do to establish how best we can identify, retain and nurture trans leaders for today and the future at Mermaids.”
Before becoming interim chief at Mermaids, Stoner had a career in health and social care, including as chief executive of SV2, a charity that supports victims of sexual violence.
Kathryn Downs, chair of trustees at Mermaids, said: “Lauren has demonstrated impressive leadership, implemented new working practices and, in particular, begun the crucial process of improving the culture at Mermaids.
“Her leadership on equality, diversity and inclusion matters has been strong and the new strategy for 2024 to 2027, co-created with our community and all of our people, lays out a path for the future.”
On the Mermaids website, Stoner answered questions from the charity’s youth advisory panel about Mermaids’ values and priorities, including its commitment to becoming a trans-led organisation.
“I’ve never worked in an organisation experiencing this level of hostility and external scrutiny, and that is phenomenally taxing for everyone who works and volunteers at Mermaids.”
She said: “I’m delighted that we’ve appointed a new chair designate who is herself trans, and that we’ve continued to improve trans representation over the last year, but we have more to do to establish how best we can identify, retain and nurture trans leaders for today and the future at Mermaids.”
Stoner said that she is most looking forward to developing the charity’s approach to transgender leadership this year.
She said that during her time as interim chief, she was proud to have piloted a four-day week, recognised a union and improved the annual leave offered to staff.
She said she was also proud that Mermaids was one of the first charities to leave the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, noting that its social media reach has continued growing despite this move.
Stoner added that, while she thinks she has the “best job in the world”, the level of scrutiny the charity has contended with has been challenging.
She said: “I’ve never worked in an organisation experiencing this level of hostility and external scrutiny, and that is phenomenally taxing for everyone who works and volunteers at Mermaids.”