EXCLUSIVE: ArtsEd chair Brian Brodie has quit for personal reasons. His decision follows criticism of the board’s handling of bullying allegations at the esteemed London drama school.

Brodie, a financial services executive, has stepped down after joining Andrew Lloyd Webber-backed ArtsEd in July 2022. One of his last actions was to launch an independent, barrister-led inquiry after Deadline uncovered misconduct allegations against ArtsEd principal Julie Spencer.

Trustee Farida Mannan announced Brodie’s resignation in an email to parents of ArtsEd students on Friday. Mannan has been named acting chair. Spencer is on medical leave and will not return to work while the investigation is ongoing.

“I appreciate that the last few weeks have been immensely challenging for the organisation,” Mannan said. “The allegations raised in recent media coverage are serious and do not reflect our values or the organisation we want to be.”

More than 100 parents complained to ArtsEd, raising questions about the board’s handling of the allegations, which include a leaked recording of Spencer branding students “snakes” and threatening them with legal action. Brodie apologized for a lack of communication with parents.

Mannan echoed this sentiment in her email on Friday. “It is clear to me that we have communicated poorly and ineffectively with you on some of these matters in the last few weeks, and this has placed an undue burden upon you,” ArtsEd’s acting chair said.

Mannan revealed that Ghazaleh Rezaie, the senior attorney engaged to investigate the allegations, is expected to report back to the board with her findings in March next year. Several sources have told Deadline that they intend to submit evidence.

It is the second independent investigation at ArtsEd in as many years after barrister Rebecca Tuck found in 2021 that the institution demonstrated a “lack of regard” for the wellbeing of students, exposing them to favoritism, bullying, and other misconduct.

Mannan said: “I appreciate that concerns have been raised about undertaking another investigation less than three years after the Rebecca Tuck KC review. We are fully aware that any review of this kind will mean a significant commitment of time and resources, but we believe that it is the fair, appropriate and responsible course of action, and demonstrates how serious we are about holding ourselves to the highest standards.”

Lloyd Webber is ArtsEd’s president and his foundation has donated millions of pounds to the school. He has not commented on the allegations.

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Source: DLine

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