Hadlow Group chief executive on sick leave following FE Commissioner intervention

The Hadlow Group is on the hunt for an interim chief executive after its leader went on sick leave following the resignation of his deputy and the intervention of FE commissioners.

On Monday, FE Week reported deputy chief executive Mark Lumsdon-Taylor had resigned and the commissioners had visited the Kent-based institution the week before – likely in relation to its finances, as it has been granted an extension to submit its 2017/18 accounts.

Now, the college group’s top boss, Paul Hannan (pictured), has stepped back from his duties.

It is also understood that the FE Commissioner will revisit the college group tomorrow.

In a statement, the group told FE Week: “The board can confirm the group principal and chief executive is on leave due to ill health. In his absence, the board is in the process of putting in place interim senior leadership arrangements.

“The board will provide further information as soon as it’s in a position to do so.”

The statement continued: “Governors are working proactively with the FE Commissioner and the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

“The outcomes from the current visits are still ongoing and not yet finalised, and as such, we cannot comment further at this time.”

Mr Hannan has served as head of Hadlow College since 2005, through its adoption of West Kent and Ashford College following the collapse of K College in 2014, and the formation of The Hadlow Group the same year.

As well as Hadlow and West Kent and Ashford colleges, the group also encompasses Betteshanger Sustainable Parks, Broadview Garden Centre, Saplings Rural Nursery and Pre-School, Hadlow Rural Community School, Produced in Kent, and Rosemary Shrager’s Cookery School.

Hannan was one of the highest paid college leaders in 2016/17 after taking home a pay packet of £264,000.

His deputy Mr Lumsdon-Taylor was paid up to £210,000 in 2016/17.

Separate published accounts for West Kent and Ashford College and Hadlow College, for 2016/17, show a combined turnover of £45 million.