Karen Hayes, Chief Executive Officer of Guide Dogs Victoria has resigned today, the 31st of May after being stood down recently over her endorsement of Josh Frydenberg during the federal election.
She appeared on pamphlets endorsing the then Liberal Federal treasurer in his seat of Kooyong in Victoria, holding a pup, naming the charity organisation. There was also a deleted video on Frydenberg’s Facebook page with her endorsement. The quote on the flyer “Time and time again, Josh has shown his genuine care for Guide Dogs Victoria and the people with low vision and blindness we serve.”
Under Australian law, charities risk losing registration for promoting political candidates. The charity regulator also dissuades all charities from endorsing any politicians due to damage to reputation.
While there is an investigation underway, Hayes resigned. She has been CEO for 10 years.
Former chairman of the board, Iain Edwards has stepped into the Acting CEO role until a new CEO has been announced.
His statement regarding Karen Hayes is below.
“Karen leaves a great legacy of modernising the organisation and having a genuine commitment to supporting Victorians with low vision and blindness to live full and independent lives.
On behalf of the board, I want to thank Karen for her innovation, passion, and commitment to Guide Dogs Victoria. Karen has always set out to make a difference and to help those that need support, and that is exactly what she has achieved during her decade in the role.”
Karen Hayes also thanked the staff in her statement.
In the 2021 financial report, Guide Dogs Victoria had received $3.2m in funding from both the state and federal governments.