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YesCymru CEO sacked by email

20 Dec 2023 7 minute read
New YesCymru Chief Executive Gwern Gwynfil. Right, a YesCymru rally. Picture by Lluniau Lleucu / YesCymru.

Emily Price

The CEO of YesCymru has been sacked by email due to the “needs of the business changing”, Nation.Cymru can reveal.

Gwern Gwynfil was appointed Chief Executive of the pro Welsh independence  movement in September last year. He has been responsible for the day to day running of YesCymru and for the implementation for its campaign strategy.

Nation.Cymru has obtained an email notifying Mr Gwynfil that his employment with YesCymru is being terminated.

The correspondence was sent by Director and Chair of YesCymru, Barry Parkin who states in the email that the CEO position is “no longer required”.

Dismissal

In the email, Mr Parkin says he had attempted to contact Mr Gwynfil by several means but did not receive a response from him.

Mr Parkin wrote: “I have contacted you to arrange a telephone meeting with you and I have also called a number of times, you [sic] but you have not picked up. I have messaged you by SMS text, WhatsApp and by email. I also had **** verbally pass you a message during your routine meeting with him this morning, but you have not called me. You are aware from my messages that the matter is urgent.

“You WhatsApp messages asking me to put all communication in writing clearly indicated that you are refusing to talk with me, therefore I regret to advise you via this unsatisfactory means of communication that your contract of employment with YesCymru Cyf is terminated effective immediately.”

The dismissal letter attached to the email states: “Dear Gwern, I am writing to confirm the company’s decision to terminate your employment due to the needs of the business changing, meaning the role of the CEO is no longer required.

“In accordance with the notice period required under your terms and conditions of employment, you are entitled to receive 3 months notice of our intention to terminate your employment. Under the circumstances, however, you are not required to work your notice period and will therefore received payment in lieu. Your last day of employment is 18th December 2023.

Property

In the letter, Mr Parkin also states that arrangements will be made for company property to be picked up from Mr Gwynfil’s home address.

A YesCymru source told Nation.Cymru the severance pay owed to the former CEO amounts to around £20,000 and the organisation will also have to fork out legal costs.

Responding to Mr Parkin’s letter of dismissal, Mr Gwynfil said the claim that a CEO is no longer needed is “patently untrue”.

In an email he wrote: “With the organisation finally developing structure and momentum against a backdrop of strong independence polling, having a CEO to represent the organisation consistently and clearly across the whole of Wales is more imperative than ever. It is my strong belief that your action is unconstitutional.”

YesCymru describe themselves as a non party-political campaign for an independent Wales. It was first formed in 2014 and officially launched on 20 February 2016 in Cardiff. In 2022 it became a private company limited by guarantee without share capital.

Nation.Cymru understands the decision to dismiss Mr Gwynfil was not discussed with the membership.

This is despite the organisation planning an ‘Extraordinary General Meeting’ on January 13 to discuss changes to the constitution and to make it a company limited by guarantee.

A whistle-blower told Nation.Cymru that Mr Parkin does not live in Wales and is currently under investigation for a breach of YesCymru’s bylaws.

We understand that a complaints officer has been assigned to investigate the complaint but a conclusion has not yet been reached.

On Tuesday evening, Nation.Cymru received an anonymous email which stated: “When will Nation be reporting on the sacking of Gwern Gwynfil as CEO of YesCymru? The board is dysfunctional, with several complaints outstanding against members of the board.”

We also obtained a trail of almost 50 emails detailing disagreements between some directors and the CEO.

Gwern Gwynfil told Nation.Cymru: “I don’t believe it’s appropriate for five individuals to make a material decision of this scale for an organisation of thousands, even less so just four weeks before an EGM in which the opinion of the entire membership can be canvassed, but this is not the most important thing from an independence perspective.

“Over the past year YesCymru has grown in influence, built a strong and active grass roots network of groups and seen support for independence consistently grow in polling. The important thing today is that YesCymru continues to evolve, that internal elections in February are lively and contested, with candidates with vision, vigour and a real belief that independence is within our grasp.

“This evolution, to YesCymru 3.0 if you will, can set the stage for a truly transformative decade for Wales. One where YesCymru works to drive forward the independence debate and one which ends with an independent Wales. This is what YesCymru can and should be, this is what the members expect and this is what the members themselves can deliver.”

Finances

In a statement Barry Parkin said: “To ensure YesCymru’s finances remain in a healthy position, a majority of YesCymru’s Board of Directors took the responsible decision that it would be unsustainable to continue employing a CEO. Currently, most organisations are having to rationalise finances. YesCymru is a membership organisation and the Board has a responsibility to ensure that membership money is spent wisely.

“The discussion about the position of the CEO has been ongoing for the last few months, which the CEO was aware of, and it was not an easy decision to make, but sometimes we have to make hard decisions for the good of the organisation, whilst recognising that a minority of Directors may disagree with the majority decision of the Board.

“The phrase ‘sacked’, which I have heard used about the Board’s decision, implies or gives the impression that the CEO was dismissed for misconduct or inappropriate behaviour. There is nothing further from the truth. The CEO contract was terminated purely, as I have explained, for cost reasons and in accordance with the majority decision of the Board.

“On the day that the Board took the decision to terminate the contract, I made every effort to contact our CEO, Gwern Gwynfyl [sic], both by phone and by WhatsApp messages to discuss the decision, but none of my messages or calls were returned.

“Eventually, I received a WhatsApp message from Gwern asking that I put any matters that I wished to discuss in writing on a formal basis. I therefore, regrettably, had no choice but to contact Gwern via several email addresses and by WhatsApp to inform him of the decision, in accordance with the advice that we received from our HR advisors.

“The two Directors removed from the Board recently were co-opted directors. Co-opted directors are unelected and on the Board by the invitation of the Board, only for a specific reason, be this for a short or longer period. Again, it was the decision of the majority of the Board that their input was no longer required at that time.

“Regarding severance pay and other legal costs, the figures quoted bear no resemblance to the truth. Naturally YesCymru will be honouring any notice period within the CEO’s contract but, as this matter is commercially sensitive, I am not at liberty to reveal those details.

“Unfortunately, there are elements that are trying to undermine the legitimate majority decisions made by the Board of YesCymru and to personally attack individuals on the Board, which is extremely disappointing.

“Those elements will not succeed in undermining our focus, which remains to support our grassroots members, the local groups, and campaigns to continue to stimulate the growth we have seen recently in the support for Welsh Independence.”


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Richard H
Richard H
2 months ago

“Dysfunctional Yes for a Dysfunctional Wales”!

One step forwards two steps back. Never let it be said the movement is more about identity (and personality) politics. Fighting above our weight!

Still, S4C will shortly be recruiting. Get those well supported CVs in.

NadineD
NadineD
2 months ago

Why is it that every time that Yes Cymru manages to get to a strong position, a small group of nutters on the Board/Committee decide to destroy it? That whole bureaucratic nightmare of a new constitution was rather a waste, wasn’t it? Gwern is the person we need, not the present “Directors”.

P.S. Yes Cymru is NOT a business!

hdavies15
hdavies15
2 months ago
Reply to  NadineD

They managed to remove some toxic influences after coming close to a terminal hijacking. Now it seems that there is another phase of coup and instability breaking out. More than likely the petty personal politics of over rated individuals but there could be a more malign influence manipulating in the background.

Annibendod
Annibendod
2 months ago

Great. Another shambles. As if the last one wasn’t lesson enough. I said last time that it would be far more constructive for people to put their efforts into Plaid Cymru. I haven’t changed my mind.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
2 months ago
Reply to  Annibendod

I’m not going to comment on these events, other than to point out to Annibendod that Plaid Cymru regularly makes a hash of things; too numerous to count.

Annibendod
Annibendod
2 months ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

We all know about your bitterness towards Plaid John. It clouds your judgement.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
2 months ago
Reply to  Annibendod

Please put aside your childish insults. I am a nationalist and have believed in and worked for independence all my life. My bitterness as you call it (if bitterness it is) is based on the history and duplicity of Plaid Cymru, the self styled and self proclaimed “Party of Wales.” A brief history lesson. After the second world war the party had three aims, the first of which was a seat at the UN – that’s independence! This remained the case until the 1997 party conference; sniffing power (of sorts) the leadership attempted to remove this commitment, the floor refused.… Read more »

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
2 months ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

I really hate to say it, but I agree.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
2 months ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

Correction! The sentence is badly worded – the only member of the platform party to support the floor (and retain the commitment to the UN) was Jill Evans.

lufcwls
lufcwls
2 months ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

I’ve only been interested in more recent years but I remember both Leanne Wood and Adam Price regularly mentioning annibyniaeth.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
2 months ago
Reply to  lufcwls

Thank you for your response.
You made the case for me – you used the phrase “more recent years,” yes, after the formation of YC.
Incidentally, Wood only became interested when realising, even in its early days, YC was growing
As this current story continues to run, it might be worth remembering that there were problems in those early YC years when Wood attempted to take it over and only succeeded in driving good nationalists away and almost destroyed YC.

Richard E
Richard E
2 months ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

John , you are one of the visionaries that Cymru newydd need and much indeed an overwhelming set of views that many of us follow.

However your long standing antipathy towards Plaid ( much of it justified) perhaps on this occasion may be tainting the direction of thought here.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
2 months ago
Reply to  Richard E

Thank you for your kind words!
You will no doubt read my later contribution on why have a problem with P C.
On a more positive point. I don’t know where you are (or who you are!!) but I’d be happy to come along and give my talk “The Welsh Economy and other Stories.”

Richard E
Richard E
2 months ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

Diolch John. I’m of your generation I’m afraid 😂. A lost voice of Plaid in the 70s and 80s ….,from coastal Clwyd

Kept my vision given to us by Gwynfor and the founders – sadly dropped by others in later years

A bottom up vision of empowering local communities in a Wales able to chose its destiny based on respect and understanding and not diverted by passing fads.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
2 months ago
Reply to  Richard E

In some ways your words underline my criticism of Plaid Cymru.
I am astonished how many of our generation who laid the foundation, have walked away from the party, not because they no longer belief but are saddened by the – as you put it – dropped vision.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
2 months ago
Reply to  Annibendod

I was going to join Yes Cymru in the new year. I have decided that the money I would have paid for the membership fee would be better spent as a donation to Plaid Cymru’s election campaign. Plaid Cymru is a broad Green, liberal and democratic organisation and is best placed to provide Wales with the best Constitutional Independent Republic. Don’t be fooled by political parties with headquarters and organised outside Wales – They are not working in Welsh interests and their priorities are elsewhere. A UK federal system will not work in our interests as long as England refuses… Read more »

Annibendod
Annibendod
2 months ago

A good thing that Plaid’s policy is that of a confederation of independent Welsh, Scottish and English States … as John well knows but persistently misrepresents. Quite agree with you on the vast majority of your posts Ernie.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
2 months ago
Reply to  Annibendod

A confederation cannot be a collection of independent states as Annibendod knows. I challenged him in an earlier response to explain how ALL the federally structured states in the world retain some (often strong) powers centrally.
There’s a difference between you and I – I do the research.

Annibendod
Annibendod
2 months ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

This is pure nonsense John. You are conflating a Confederation with a Federation. The first is a political union of sovereign nations that voluntarily pool sovereignty for common cause. The second is a state in its own right, constituted of sub-state autonomous regions. Plaid’s policy is the first. You persistently misrepresent it as the latter. You are an intelligent and educated man which causes me to question your motivation for persistently misrepresenting the policy. I can only conclude that it is malice/spite/bitterness or something similar. Your assertion that “a confederation cannot be a collection of independent states” is easily refuted… Read more »

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
2 months ago
Reply to  Annibendod

We can argue forever over semantics.
I repeat that any federal state retains elements of
central power.
Why doesn’t Plaid Cymru simply say the word – Independence?????
Too busy being Santa’s little helper

Richard E
Richard E
2 months ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

“ Self determination “ the vision of Gwynfor encompassed the nation and local communities ( Bro ) releasing people’s energy and empowerment for positive change .

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
2 months ago

Such a shame, just as Yes Cymru is gaining momentum this happens. Comes across as a breakdown in relations with the chair overstepping the mark.
Seems odd the chair is not Welsh and doesn’t even live in Wales

Richard E
Richard E
2 months ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

It’s not the not being “ Welsh “ but the residence outside the nation that grinds.

hdavies15
hdavies15
2 months ago
Reply to  Richard E

The structure of YC provided for 2 members of the leadership team from outside of Wales – the exile wing ! To what extent was that really necessary ? Bit of the old London Welsh fund raising ploy ?

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
2 months ago

Another shot in the foot! Does this really make the organisation’s position financially more tenable? I wonder how many new members will now join? I wonder how many current members are happy that their membership fees are now being used for legal costs. It seems that Yes Cymru is imploding and on a path of self-destruction.

Derek Brockley
Derek Brockley
2 months ago

The wreckers who wrecked it in 2021 got themselves in charge until now and now…
they’ve wrecked it again.

Well, they got what they wanted.

Annibendod
Annibendod
2 months ago
Reply to  Derek Brockley

There was more than one lot of wreckers involved in 2021. The ones that left had some right ones in their ranks.

Shifter
Shifter
2 months ago
Reply to  Annibendod

They only want your money they don’t care about you and you are fools to pay it.

Annibendod
Annibendod
2 months ago
Reply to  Shifter

Nah, it’s more about ego’s and self-righteousness.

Richard E
Richard E
2 months ago
Reply to  Shifter

Tory Troll 🧌 alerts ‼️

Karl
Karl
2 months ago

They are making it harder to support with my donations. Previous issues was a bunch of ego’s not telling us what they are doing. This is the same. No transparency, is undemocratic and very Brotish ironically. Thought we wanted different

Annibendod
Annibendod
2 months ago
Reply to  Karl

True. Hence why I figured I’d be better off putting my efforts into getting my local Plaid candidates elected. Fair play, we really do live up to the typical infighting Welsh stereotype don’t we.

Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards
2 months ago

Oh dear. Thanks to GG YesCymru made a strong recovery after imploding. So I confirmed my membership. I also went to the Aberystwyth Conference where I saw strong leadership by GG, and heard excellent open-minded discussions.The constitution isn’t the problem. The problem is that Wales in 2023-4 has only limited talent in the Indy camp and has no idea how to use it. Welsh lobsters/tall poppy syndrome?

hdavies15
hdavies15
2 months ago

More a case of those with the biggest mouths have the emptiest heads !

Elen Wade
Elen Wade
2 months ago

Is this another attempt at capture by the same Marxists and Trans activists who trashed Yes Cymru in 2021 ?

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
2 months ago
Reply to  Elen Wade

Surely we as YC members will be getting a chance to elect folk to be Directors soon. The answer, if we don’t like what has been done by the Directors is to dis-elect the whole shower. Of course we would need some sensible heads to stand for election. Pesumably our local groups could find a person from their group who does not have an ego problem.

Annibendod
Annibendod
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

Therein lies the dilemma. Gwern seemed decent and for a little while there YC looked like it was overcoming the self-righteous ego-driven meltdown it suffered in 2021 – good people were badly hurt by a nasty little cabal. Is this character who’s tried to sack Gwern a stooge? I still maintain, that if we want to achieve our statehood, a majority vote for Plaid Cymru is the most effective means. Any alternative activities should be questioned in light of what extent do they support that end? One could argue that winning the conservative vote over to Gwlad would send a… Read more »

Huw Evans
Huw Evans
2 months ago

The dismissal letter (so we are told) said that due to the ‘needs of the business changing’ a CEO was ‘no longer required.’ No mention is made of what those needs (old or new) might be. Also, there is no reference to the need to rein in the finances. In the statement by Mr Parkin, he says the CEO’s dismissal is purely related to cost and the need to secure a sustainable future (although the finances are currently in a ‘healthy position’); there’s no reference to the changing needs of the ‘business’. I can’t reconcile the contents of the letter… Read more »

Richard E
Richard E
2 months ago

So sad yet again for Yes Cymru.

The woke band failed to ruin or divert YC – now it’s someone who doesn’t even live here !

I do t know any of the folk involved but you’ve definitely made ARTDs weekend…

Annibendod
Annibendod
2 months ago
Reply to  Richard E

Can we please stop using the “woke” slur. It’s no more than “loony left” or “bleeding heart liberals”. Its original use was by progressive black americans to describe their awarness of the struggles of people in addition to racism. The term has since been hijacked and it does its true meaning and original users a disservice. It also plays into the hands of the anglo-British right wing media and the petty nationalist mob mentality they like to stir.

Elen Wade
Elen Wade
2 months ago
Reply to  Annibendod

Unfortunately the fact remains that it was radical left lunatics who infiltrated and almost captured Yes Cymru before.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
2 months ago

There is something very clearly wrong that someone currently under investigation for breaching YC’s byelaws hasn’t been suspended pending the outcome of those investigations. That Barry Parkin has now acted, seemingly questionably, should set alarm bells ringing.

Charles Coombes
Charles Coombes
2 months ago

No Cymru, not by email!

Iestyn H
Iestyn H
2 months ago

When we secure a progressive, technologically adept and forward looking individual whom is committed to the cause why do these negative outcomes occur? If the cost of the CEO (assumed to be budgeted on appointment) is an issue please share with the membership the details of any funding shortfall for forecast for 2023 excluding any costs associated with the termination. Any progressive and transparent institution should ensure that the full results of any independent investigations into the actions of and any complaints against the current board members are shared in full without redaction with the membership at least 4 weeks… Read more »

Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards
2 months ago
Reply to  Iestyn H

YC are now saying that GG’s pay costs them 20% of their money. And that 20% is too much. Very shortsighted. I’d say that GG was cheap at the price and should’ve been given more time to succeed. Because without such strong leadership YC will not succeed. Maybe this isn’t over. As a member I may get some sort of report. And the chance to vote. Lets see….

Richard Thomas
Richard Thomas
2 months ago

The problem with these single issue campaign organisations and parties is they can get a reasonably large number of people to rally around the cause and throw a fair amount of weight around. However, and a good example here is UKIP, they have no understanding of how to implement what they’re calling for and no responsibility for any of what happens if they’re successful. Plaid actually understand how government works and work for Wales within the structure we have but will also work towards trying to change it for what they believe will be the benefit of Wales. You don’t… Read more »

robin campbell
robin campbell
2 months ago

Is Barry Parkin a Labour stooge?

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