Sarah Powell appointed as the new CEO of British Gymnastics
British Gymnastics has today unveiled current Sport Wales CEO Sarah Powell as its new Chief Executive.
The Board at British Gymnastics, with help from senior leaders from Sport England, UK Sport and SRI, an executive search consultancy, has appointed Sarah – who will join the Executive Team at BG on 4th October.
Sarah is a former Welsh hockey captain and went to the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. She dedicated 10 years to playing at senior level before retiring from international competition to coach the Welsh Under-18 hockey team.
Also a former secondary school teacher, Sarah joined Sport Wales and was High Performance Director between 2008 and 2010. She became Corporate Director of Sport Wales in 2010 and then, in 2013, became the first female Chief Executive Officer of Sport Wales – who she will leave later this year after eight years at the helm.
In response to her appointment as the new CEO of British Gymnastics, Sarah commented:
“Gymnastics has, in my view, a unique ability to introduce millions of young people to skills that can positively influence the rest of their lives, whether they stay within the sport as a gymnast, coach or volunteer, or use the skills in another sport or to stay active and healthy in later life.
“Now, more than ever before, with increasing levels of inactivity we need to prioritise creating opportunities for people to have fun and experience all that the sport has to offer.
“That is why I’m incredibly excited to be given the opportunity to lead British Gymnastics.
“There are well publicised challenges facing the sport at the moment and I am under no illusions about the scale of change needed to create a culture where gymnasts, parents, coaches, supporters and the many other stakeholders who really care about the sport, know that their views, experiences and ideas really matter to British Gymnastics.
“I am committed to listening to and working with the wider gymnastics community to better understand how we can all work together to create an environment where gymnastics is a fun and enjoyable experience for all ages and abilities.”
Mike Darcey, Chair of British Gymnastics, said: “The calibre of applicants for this position was outstanding and we are delighted to appoint Sarah, who is a successful executive leader with 20 years’ experience in the sports industry.
“I’d like to thank Sport England and UK Sport for their involvement and support throughout the recruitment process.
“Bringing someone new into the organisation from outside of gymnastics will add a new dimension to our leadership team.
“Sarah has worked with a number of organisations at Board level that have needed to evolve and modernise as well as championing equality, diversity, and inclusivity across all levels of sport. Sarah’s experience extends far beyond her well documented skills as an administrator.
“As a former international athlete and coach, Sarah has been involved in sport in many different ways and these experiences will, I’ve no doubt, help shape and define a new era for gymnastics in the UK.”
Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of Sport England, added: “As a highly-respected and experienced leader in both the grassroots and the high performance areas of sport, Sarah is an excellent appointment by British Gymnastics.
“Her communication and engagement skills, combined with high personal integrity and strong values, will be essential qualities in this role, particularly as British Gymnastics seeks to drive positive change and embed the recommendations of the Whyte Review.”
Alastair Marks was appointed as Interim CEO at British Gymnastics in January and has been providing stability and direction to the organisation at an extremely challenging time. He has made a significant contribution and continues to work hard to steer the organisation and help rebuild the sport following a difficult 12 months.
He will remain on the Board at British Gymnastics once Sarah arrives to assist her as she takes responsibility for the organisation’s strategy, direction, and leadership.