Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

UNICEF honcho Justin Forsyth steps down after revelation of 'unsuitable' messages

by Corky Siemaszko /
Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive of Save the Children U.K., talks to internally displaced Somalis at a camp in Hodan district of Somalia's capital Mogadishu, Nov. 21, 2012.Feisal Omar / Reuters file

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

A top UNICEF official has resigned after revelations that he reportedly peppered female staffers at his previous job with “unsuitable and thoughtless” messages.

“I want to make clear I am not resigning from UNICEF because of the mistakes I made at Save the Children,” the official, Justin Forsyth, who stepped down as a deputy director at the United Nations Children's Fund, wrote in a letter obtained by NBC News. “They were dealt with through a proper process many years ago.”

Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive of Save the Children U.K., talks to internally displaced Somalis at a camp in Hodan district of Somalia's capital Mogadishu, Nov. 21, 2012.Feisal Omar / Reuters file

“I am resigning because of the danger of damaging both UNICEF and Save the Children and our wider cause," he wrote.

Forsyth, who worked at the U.N. Children’s Fund for two years, did not divulge what “mistakes” he had made at Save the Children.

But The Telegraph, the BBC and other British news outlets reported that Forsyth had sent a “barrage” of texts to three Save the Children staffers that “included references to how they looked and what they were wearing.”

It later emerged that UNICEF was not aware of the allegations against Forsyth when they recruited him.

In a statement to The Telegraph after the original revelations, Forsyth said: "I made some personal mistakes during my time at Save the Children. I recognize that on a few occasions I had unsuitable and thoughtless conversations with colleagues which I now know caused offence and hurt."

Forsyth was chief executive of Save the Children from 2011 to 2015.

Word of Forsyth’s departure came a day after the Ford Motor Company parted ways with Raj Nair, the company’s president for North America, after an internal investigation found he had acted inappropriately.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news

Have feedback?

How likely are you to recommend nbcnews.com to a friend or colleague?

0 = Very unlikely
10 = Very likely
Please select answer

Is your feedback about:

Please select answer

Thank you!

Your feedback has been sent out. Please enjoy more of our content.

We appreciate your help making nbcnews.com a better place.