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UK Athletics

Recruiting a Non-Exec Director for UKA

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Column as seen in Athletics Weekly magazine





With apologies to readers for repetition, I’d like to highlight an advertisement elsewhere in this week’s Athletics Weekly inviting applications for a new Non-Executive Director of UK Athletics. This will be an important appointment and I’d hate to think of the perfect candidate missing the ad because the pages of his or her magazine were stuck together with energy gel.


After Zara Hyde-Peters’ recent departure from UKA to become Chief Executive of British Triathlon, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson is now the only former elite athlete on our Board. As with all similar organisations, the Board’s work requires a wide range of skills and, as Chairman, I’m keen to ensure that we always have the right mix.


So, our search for a new Non-Executive is focused squarely on someone with experience of athletics at the highest international level. This could be as an athlete who has competed in major championships, or as a coach who has worked with athletes of that calibre.


The work of a Non-Executive may only be part-time, but it does carry enormous significance for UK Athletics, and it requires a commitment beyond the formal round of Board and committee meetings. However, for someone who cares about the future of athletics in Britain this is a wonderful opportunity to help shape our sport.


A few weeks before Tanni announced her retirement from elite athletics, I met her to sound out her possible interest in joining the Board. As someone not shy to criticise the governing body during her racing career, I could see that this represented an excellent opportunity for UKA to harness her passion and her insights, and for her to channel her experiences in the future development of athletics generally, and of disability athletics in particular.


What we are now looking for is someone who can bring similar understanding to our strategic debate – and a similar realisation that the decisions we ultimately take must be balanced by a range of inputs in the interests of the sport. Much of the work that the Board has to do may be dry yet necessary, but its work in assisting the executive team – and holding them to account – is both vital and fascinating.


While it would obviously be helpful if candidates had experience of boards or committees, we do already have ample expertise of that sort around the table. Indeed we would ensure that the successful candidate had all the necessary help to take on the responsibilities that go with the job.


All of which is, I hope, an encouragement to anyone with a high-achieving background in the sport who wants to help in leading UKA to think carefully about applying. I look forward to hearing from you.