Where is Paula Vennells now? Former Post Office boss hands back CBE after more than 1 million sign petition

The former chief executive hands back the title with 'immediate effect'

Where is Paula Vennells now?
(Image credit: ITVX / Getty Images)

Former Post Office chief executive Paula Vennells has handed back her CBE, as a petition for her to be stripped of the title exceeds a million signatures.

Vennells was at the forefront of the Post Office scandal, heading the organisation during the time it encountered issues with its Horizon IT system, which lead to significant shortfalls in revenue at over 70 branches. The software defects were strongly denied, which subsequently led to hundreds of sub postmasters being wrongly prosecuted. 

Pressure for the former CEO to lose her title intensified following an ITV dramatisation of the scandal – Mr Bates vs. The Post Officewhich aired recently. The series, which has already garnered lots of popularity, focuses on hundreds of sub-postmasters, and the life-altering events that resulted in some going to prison and others in financial ruin. 

In a statement Vennells said: "I am truly sorry for the devastation caused to the sub-postmasters and their families, whose lives were torn apart by being wrongly accused and wrongly prosecuted as a result of the Horizon system."

Paula Vennells at Post Office enquiry

(Image credit: Parliament TV)

Why did Paula Vennells hand back her CBE?

Since these findings have come to light, more than a million people have signed a petition for Paula Vennells to give up her CBE. Feeling growing amounts of pressure, Vennells handed back the prestigious title on 9 January. 

After leaving the Post Office in 2019, after a period of seven years, Paula became Chair of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, but left in December 2020. She was also an Anglican priest until 2021 when the sub postmasters convictions were overturned, and thus, she stepped back from working at her regular ministry. 

She stated at the time: "I am truly sorry for the suffering caused to the 39 subpostmasters as a result of their convictions, which were overturned last week."

In the 2019 New Year's Honours, Paula was awarded with a CBE for services to the Post Office and to charity - however, since the scandal erupted, there were calls for the former CEO to be stripped of her CBE, which finally came to fruition on 9 Jan. 

mr bates vs the post office

A scene from Mr. Bates vs. The Post Office.

(Image credit: ITVX)

Where is Paula Vennells now?

Technically, Paula's CBE still stands, as only King Charles can strip someone of such an honour. Vennells has renounced the honour, but it won't be formal until the King is advised and takes action. 

As well as losing her title, calls are also being made for her to pay back the millions in bonuses she received during her time at the Post Office. With many employees still fighting to clear their name, many feel this would be the right thing for Vennells to do. 

Since 2021, Vennells has reportedly stepped back from her duties as an Anglican priest, resigned as a member of the diocese, and there are no details of her current career standing. 

Madeline Merinuk
US Lifestyle News Writer

Madeline Merinuk is woman&home's US lifestyle news writer, covering celebrity, entertainment, fashion, and beauty news.

She graduated in 2021 with a B.A. in Journalism from Hofstra University, winning multiple student journalism awards, including a National Hearst Award, during her time there. After graduating, she worked at today.com, the digital site for the Today Show, where she wrote pop culture news and interviewed big-name personalities like Emily Ratajkowski, Haley Lu Richardson, Emma Corrin, and more.

Her personal interests, in no particular order, are: cheese, Joni Mitchell, reading, hot yoga, traveling, having multiple chapsticks in every handbag at all times, and dancing to ABBA songs as if she were in the Mamma Mia movies.

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