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CEO of Downtown London ‘moving on’ from business group

Janette MacDonald stands in the Downtown London offices on King Street.
Janette MacDonald stands in the Downtown London offices on King Street. 980 CFPL

A 17-year term has drawn to a close for the CEO and general manager of Downtown London.

A statement from the London Downtown Business Association (LDBA), a group contained within Downtown London, announced Thursday that Janette MacDonald will be “moving on” from her role as the head of the organization.

Downtown London board chairperson Gerald Gallacher told Global News Radio 980 CFPL that an oversight committee has been established to help administrative staff with day-to-day operations.

READ MORE: London Downtown Business Association could see overhaul of board election process

A search committee has also been established to help find a replacement for MacDonald, who took over the business group’s top job in 2002.

“I think it’s going to be a difficult process to find someone,” Gallacher said, adding that there will be no interim CEO in the meantime.

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When asked why MacDonald was leaving, Gallacher replied that “she’s moving on to other things at this point.”

READ MORE: ‘We’ve lost an awful lot of time and energy on this’ — Downtown London GM on anonymous complaints

MacDonald’s departure comes amid core construction closing most of Dundas Street’s downtown artery.

Earlier this year, frustrations came to a head when a group of anonymous association members represented by lawyer Mike Lerner requested the formation of an ad hoc committee to review the board election process with the hopes of addressing problems between the LDBA board and its membership.

At the time, MacDonald told Global News Radio 980 CFPL that some of the first issues raised by these members included items like bus rapid transit (BRT) and supervised consumption sites.

The infighting stemmed from Lerner’s representation of the anonymous association members.

Lawyers representing the LDBA had called on Lerner to recuse himself over a conflict of interest, with Lerner having previously represented the LDBA.

The ad hoc committee was later approved by city council after a motion from Ward 7 Coun. Josh Morgan earned unanimous support.

READ MORE: London Downtown Business Association fires back at lawyer, claims conflict of interest

Few details have been released on MacDonald’s departure and Gallacher did not say whether she was fired or resigned.

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The board chairperson said he is unable to predict how long it will take to find MacDonald’s replacement.

“We gotta find the right person… it’s not an easy job,” Gallacher said.