Following his four-year term as Chair of UK Sport, Rod Carr has described the prestigious position at the helm of the high performance agency as “one of the best jobs in sport” as he prepares to step down from the role in April.
Rod became UK Sport Chair in April 2013, following ten years on the Board, and took up the position following a stellar career in the sport of sailing that saw him serve as CEO of the Royal Yachting Association from 2000 to 2010.
"I've been involved in high performance sport all my working life and the chance to lead UK Sport was unique," he explained. "It's one of the best jobs in sport. I believe that British Olympic and Paralympic sport has been on a fantastic journey and I wanted to try and accelerate that journey when I became Chair. I feel I have done that and hopefully I have done so with honesty and integrity."
Rod went on to say: "It's a role you do because you believe in the impact that success at elite level can have on the morale of the nation."
Rod admits the highlight of his time as Chair was undoubtedly the Rio 2016 Games. "It was an amazing experience and a real culmination of both my sporting administrative career and for UK Sport," he said.
As for other aspects of the job: "I would say the best fun is going to major events, meeting phenomenal athletes, coaches and support staff and of course, seeing British stars of all types compete with real distinction on the world stage. The most rewarding part is helping lead an organisation that has an enormous amount of intellectual capital knowledge that helps sports and NGBs to realise their ambitions."
Carr admits there are also challenges in the role, particularly when it comes to key investment decisions. "The hardest challenge is always dealing with funding decisions," he said. "The contribution from the Lottery and the Government to elite sport is fantastic and we are hugely grateful, but we have less money in real terms than we had in the last cycle and that provides challenges."
With the new UK Sport Chair set to be appointed in the coming months, Carr believes his successor will need to embody certain key qualities. "I think, as a Chair, you need to fully understand the role, be able to lead a talented Board and be able to work closely with a fantastic CEO. It's important to recognise the role is a non-executive position and you must be very careful where you intervene. More often than not, you don't need to intervene at all with such a talented team in place at UK Sport!"
"I would say an insight into how the Government works is helpful, but you very definitely need a fundamental understanding of the systems that are likely to produce success on the world stage."
Finishing up, Rod said: "Nothing ahead will replicate or replace the work I have done at UK Sport. I'll miss working with high performing people like Liz and the Directors Team, to all of the talented staff."
Applications for the Chair role close on 24th February. Find all the details here.