Branch Secretary :

Catalyst HR boss’s sudden exit in midst of big restructure



Employees at Catalyst were perplexed to receive an email last week from CEO Ian McDermott, announcing the retirement with immediate effect of Judith Foss, longstanding Executive Director of People and Culture at the large London housing association.



Controversial HR boss Foss previously attracted comment for receiving inflation-busting pay rises while frontline workers experienced real terms salary cuts. She was instrumental in setting Catalyst’s union-busting stance, refusing to recognise Unite after the derecognition of the previous union saw then-CEO Rod Cahill dragged over the coals by the London Assembly.


Opportunity for reset


Foss’s stated reason for her departure was a desire to focus on personal priorities after lockdown. Unite Housing Workers Branch wishes Judith well in her retirement, however workers will doubtless have serious concerns about the goings-on at executive level at Catalyst, as the departure of a senior director without working her notice period, in the midst of a major restructure is highly irregular.



Reps and members hope that the appointment of a new executive director will provide the opportunity for a reset in industrial relations and look forward to working constructively with Foss’s replacement when appointed, who it is hoped will be prepared to work sensibly with the union to agree a recognition agreement at Catalyst.



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