Hay director Peter Florence quits as gross misconduct claim upheld

Hay Festival’s co-founder and director Peter Florence has resigned after its board of directors found his actions amounted to gross misconduct.


The board unanimously endorsed an independent investigation and panel review that upheld an internal complaint against him.


Mr. Florence said his role had “become untenable”.


He claimed the disciplinary hearing was held “in my absence whilst I was off sick following a breakdown”.


Mr. Florence set up the festival with his parents in 1988. It is one of the biggest events in world literature.


He was suspended in October. pending the outcome of grievance proceedings.

In a statement, the board said: “In line with the festival’s disciplinary procedure and bullying and harassment procedure, it was found that Mr. Florence’s actions amounted to gross misconduct.”


It said its decision “followed a thorough and extensive process, which considered substantial supporting evidence”.


It added: “As the board gathered to conclude the internal process, Mr. Florence resigned with immediate effect.”


It said it was now seeking new leadership.


Mr. Florence said: “I am incredibly proud of the achievements of the Hay Festival over the last 35 years and hope that it continues to go from strength to strength.

“I do not wish to comment further at this time and continue to take legal advice.”

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