THE two top bosses at one of York’s biggest employers have been forced out following a lengthy investigation into allegations against them.

Benenden chief executive officer Marc Bell and chief financial officer Giles Webster were suspended last July, after the allegations were made to the board.

The society, which provides healthcare and employs about 260 people at its offices in Holgate Park, said in a statement that it commissioned legal and forensic experts to carry out an independent investigation.

“This investigation was robust and complex and took several months to complete,” it said.

“When the investigation had concluded and based on the findings, the board decided to terminate the contracts of the CEO and CFO in April 2017.”

It said an interim CEO and CFO were appointed to ensure the continued smooth running of the society, as it continued to provide outstanding support to thousands of members every day.

“We have now begun the process of recruiting a new permanent CEO and CFO to the society.”

Mr Bell said in a statement that the society had “decided to make a change at the top”.

He said: “I don’t agree with the conclusion of their investigation and was not in fact asked to take part in it. Over eight years, my record speaks for itself and I am proud that I helped to deliver a record growth in revenue.

“I have now moved on and am enjoying helping a local charity and growing a travel company.”

He said he had already settled with the society on terms they were both happy with and he was bound by confidentiality under that agreement. “I moved on from the society a while ago and wish them all the best in the next stage of their journey.”

Mr Webster said in a statement that Benenden had “chosen to implement a change in senior personnel”.

He said: “Their investigation was based on anonymous allegations, with no opportunity for me to respond or even participate.

“I disagree that their investigation was independent, with their handling of the process and with the decision reached.

“I contest any allegation of wrongdoing and I am proud to have contributed to delivering outstanding financial performance for society members over my six years with Benenden.”

Neither of the two men nor the society revealed any details of the nature of the allegations.

The society is advertising the positions, with a salary ‘at or around £220,000’ for the CEO - considerably more than the Prime Minister’s £143,462 pay - and ‘at or around £145,000’ for the CFO.

The closing date for both jobs is midday on Monday.

Benenden said the salaries advertised were in line with the market for equivalent roles.