Press release: Culture Secretary appoints Chris Boardman MBE as new Chair of Sport England

Sport England

June 29
21:30 2021

  • Chris Boardman MBE appointed for four year term
  • Dame Katherine Grainger DBE also reappointed as Chair of UK Sport
  • Appointments place two sporting greats with vast experience of sports governance at the heart of the two bodies responsible for the development of grassroots and elite sport

The news will see Boardman carry out a four year term from 22 July 2021 to 21 July 2025. He takes over from Nick Bitel who has held the post of Chair since 2013, and will play a critical role in supporting and developing grassroots sport and physical activity and getting more people active across the country as it recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. He will also play a key role in supporting Sport England to deliver on its ambitious 10-year strategy, Uniting the Movement, published earlier this year.

Meanwhile Dame Katherines reappointment, which comes weeks ahead of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, will see her carry out an additional four year term at the public body responsible for elite sport from 1 July 2021. She will continue to provide strategic direction to the organisation as it embarks on delivering its new Strategic Plan to create the greatest decade of extraordinary sporting moments; reaching, inspiring and uniting the nation. As Chair, she will also consider and make decisions on recommendations put forward by UK Sports various panels.

Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said:

As we head into a major summer of sport with fans finally returning, the Euros, the Toyko Games, and the Rugby League World Cups to name a few, I am thrilled that we now have two Olympic heroes in Chris and Dame Katherine steering the growth of grassroots and professional sport in this country.

I will be working closely with them as we place sport and physical activity at the heart of our recovery plan to build back better and fitter from this pandemic.

Chris Boardman MBE said:

I am delighted to take up the position of Chair for Sport England. Sport and activity are central to my own life and its clear they have a heightened importance for all of us right now. I am looking forward to helping the team bring opportunities to be active to more people than ever before.

Dame Katherine Grainger DBE, UK Sport Chair, said:

I am absolutely thrilled to be reappointed as Chair of UK Sport. I consider it a huge honour to be in this role, especially at an extremely exciting time for Olympic and Paralympic sport in the UK with the Tokyo Summer Games about to start and the Beijing Winter Games just around the corner.

Working with CEO Sally Munday and the team at UK Sport, as well as our wider high-performance community of athletes, coaches and staff, has been a real pleasure. As an athlete I experienced the wonderful influence and impact sport can have, and so I am very motivated to continue playing a role in enabling extraordinary moments that enrich lives.

When I was first appointed Chair back in 2017, I was very aware of challenges we faced as a high-performance community and those are challenges I have relished tackling. Having launched our new strategic plan earlier this year, I am determined to do everything I can to help UK Sport fulfil its ambitious mission.

Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of Sport England, said:

With his background as a successful athlete and his incredible work in transforming attitudes to cycling and activity in our communities, Chris is a fantastic appointment as Chair of Sport England and were really looking forward to working with him. As we begin to deliver on our ambitious 10 year strategy Uniting the Movement, I have no doubt that Chris will play a significant leadership role and play a crucial part in our work to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity.

Chris is building on the fantastic eight years of his predecessor and I am so grateful to Nick for his counsel, support, experience and wisdom during my three years as CEO and for everything he has done to ensure Sport England is in the best possible shape to thrive in the years to come. He has been a brilliant Chair and we have been lucky to have him.

Sally Munday, Chief Executive of UK Sport, said:

Katherine has had a hugely positive impact on the UK high performance community during her first term as UK Sport Chair.

She has been instrumental in shaping our new 10 year Strategic Plan and Im delighted she will be Chairing the organisation as we set about implementing that new strategy. She is an outstanding leader, an inclusive chair-person and drawing on her experiences as one of Britains most successful Olympic athletes, her ability to navigate and lead through significant change and challenge is without question.

Ive seen first-hand her passion, energy and determination for continuous improvement and thats why Im so excited about what UK Sport and the wider Olympic and Paralympic high performance community can achieve over the coming decade. Our mission to create the greatest decade of extraordinary sporting moments; reaching, inspiring and uniting the nation is something I know is very close to Katherines heart and a big driver for her wanting to undertake a second term.

Id also like to thank Katherine for the support shes offered me over my 18 months as CEO and look forward to what we can achieve as an organisation during what Im certain will be an extremely exciting period for Olympic and Paralympic sport in this country.

The Chair of Sport England is remunerated at a rate of 40,000 per annum and the UK Sport Chair is remunerated at 60,000 per annum. This appointment and reappointment have been made in accordance with the Cabinet Offices Governance Code on Public Appointments.


Notes to editors:

  • Sport England and UK Sport are executive non-departmental public bodies sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.
  • The appointments process is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Under the Code, any significant political activity undertaken by an appointee in the last five years must be declared. This is defined as including holding office, public speaking, making a recordable donation, or candidature for election.Chris Boardman and Katherine Grainger have declared no such political activity.
Chris Boardman

Chris Boardman MBE biography

Chris Boardman has a decorated sporting history in cycling. He won a gold medal in the individual pursuit at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, broke the world hour record three times and has worn the yellow jersey on three separate occasions at the Tour de France.

Following his sporting career, he became Head of Research and Development for the Great Britain Cycling Team from 2004 to 2012, including at the 2008 Beijing Games where the Olympic team won eight gold medals. Outside of sport he is one of the UKs most prominent cycling and walking advocates and has been policy adviser to British Cycling since 2012.

Over the past four years, Boardman has been working with the Mayor of Greater Manchester on the creation of a plan to create the largest cycling and walking network in the country. The delivery of the region-spanning 1800 mile, 1.5 billion pound Bee Network is now well underway. He is currently performing an expanded role as Transport Commissioner for Greater Manchester where he is helping the Mayor deliver a fully integrated transport system with active travel as its foundation, to reduce car dependency and improve health.

Katherine Grainger

Dame Katherine Grainger DBE biography

Dame Katherine Grainger is Britains most decorated female Olympic athlete and the first British woman to win medals at five successive Olympic Games. These include a memorable gold medal at London 2012, which followed silver medals at Sydney, Athens and Beijing. Following a two-year break from the GB Rowing Squad, Katherine returned to the team at the end of 2014. The move resulted in success when Katherines silver medal at Rio 2016 gave her the record breaking fifth medal from five Olympics.

In 2016, her fellow Olympians voted her Britains first Olympians Olympian. On retiring from rowing, Katherine was awarded the world of rowings most prestigious prize, the Thomas Keller Medal, for an Outstanding Career in Rowing. She is the Honorary President of the Scottish Amateur Rowing Association.

Katherine was born and educated in Scotland, graduating in law from Edinburgh University. She went on to achieve an MPhil in Medical Law and Med

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