The chief executive of the RSPCA has resigned after little more than a year in the post, leaving the world's oldest animal welfare charity in turmoil.
Jeremy Cooper was appointed to the £150,000 a year role last April, promising to restore the charity's damaged reputation, but has left before implementing a five-year recovery plan aimed at creating a "modern, transparent and efficient organisation".
Mr Cooper had promised that, under him, the organisation would "make friends and influence people", admitting it had made mistakes in the past.
Membership of the society has fallen below 20,000 amid claims it has persecuted farmers and launched ill-judged prosecutions, especially over fox-hunting and cruelty to pets.
The charity, which has an annual income of £144m employs 1,500 people and prosecutes 700 people a year over animal welfare, is due to hold its annual meeting in two weeks.
Mr Cooper's resignation follows a turbulent period under former chief executive Gavin Grant, a controversial figure who had threatened to "name and shame" farmers who culled badgers.
Under Mr Grant's stewardship in 2012, the RSPCA launched an ultimately successful but highly expensive prosecution against Heythrop, former prime minister David Cameron's local fox hunt.
The judge fined the hunt £6,800, but criticised the charity for spending a "staggering" £330,000 to bring the case.
After Mr Grant stepped down in 2014, the charity spent two years without a chief executive.
Last year, MPs demanded it stop routinely prosecuting animal owners for cruelty, following its failed prosecution of a family for alleged cruelty to its cat.
Mr Cooper told the Times: "Sometimes it's just time to move on and try something new."
The RSPCA said: "It is with regret that we announce that Jeremy has decided to move on to pursue other business opportunities.
"Jeremy has been an asset to the team and has contributed to the continued success of the RSPCA."