Updated: Friday, 14th August 2020 @ 1:11pm

Manchester Pride chief exec John Stewart steps down – but campaigners call for more changes

Manchester Pride chief exec John Stewart steps down – but campaigners call for more changes

By Alan Ross

Manchester Pride have announced that their chief executive John Stewart is stepping down from his position with immediate effect.

After weeks of speculation surrounding Pride’s chief, they finally announced that Stewart will be replaced by interim director Mark Fletcher this week.

Stewart was thanked by Pride’s board for his tenure, during which he oversaw the Supersonic event as well as the expansion of the Big Weekend.

Stewart, who joined Pride in January 2012, said: “I’m proud to have worked for Manchester Pride and believe it can go from strength to strength. I’m looking forward to new challenges and wish everyone well for the future.”

Pride has been increasingly criticised for moving away from its ‘community roots’ and a spokesman from the group Facts About Manchester Pride (FAMP) argued more change is still needed.

“I think this is a good opportunity for change but probably the entire board needs to leave, or most of them,” he said.

“And how can John Stewart be blamed for failure when the Chief Executive follows instruction from the board and he had only been in the job since January 2012?”

Manchester Pride are expected to announce their fundraising total from their 2013 event this Friday. The charity have seen a stark drop in donations, with it falling by more than half in just three years.

Pride’s donations fell continuously year on year from £135,000 in 2009 to just £52,000 in 2012, according to fundraising data on their official website.

Stewart’s interim replacement Fletcher has worked with the organisation since 2004 as a freelance Sponsorship Manager.

Vicken Couligian, Chair of the Trustees of Manchester Pride, said: “The Board would like to thank John for all his efforts. We are looking to develop Manchester Pride and build on its recent achievements and wish John every success in his future career.”

Mark will be supported by Darren Adams as Deputy CEO, Kieran Bussoopun and Michael Lever.

Image courtesy of Canal Street Sessions via YouTube, with thanks.

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