Dominican-born Baroness Patricia Scotland, Commonwealth Secretary General, not given an automatic term extension but will remain in post until next year.
Scotland has been under fire from Downing Street for alleged profligacy and internal audits which revealed some contracts had been offered outside the normal competitive tendering process.
She has however been given a formal written contract to remain in post at least until the next Commonwealth heads of government summit, which is likely to take place in mid-2021 in Rwanda.
Scotland, a Labour peer and former attorney general, has been secretary general of the Commonwealth of Nations since 2016.
Its 54 heads of government had been expected to decide her future at their biennial summit, CHOGM, this month but it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A proposal for an automatic four-year reappointment was made amid uncertainty over when the next meeting might take place.
The secretariat said: “The usual reappointment process for Commonwealth secretary generals occurs when leaders gather for the Commonwealth heads of government meeting, therefore the chair in office has proposed that, as is customary, the reappointment process will now take place when CHOGM is able to meet.’’
Scotland’s allies claim the majority of nations want her to be reappointed.