Search begins for new UK Sport CEO

Published 15 January 2019

Andrew Baker

Liz Nicholl has described the UK Sport CEO role as “the best job in sport” with the high performance agency today (14 January) beginning the search for her successor.

Liz announced in November 2018 she would be stepping down from the position this summer after what will be 20 years in a leadership role at UK Sport.

Reflecting on her tenure, which has seen Great Britain and Northern Ireland achieve historic performances at every successive Games, Nicholl said she has enjoyed all aspects of the CEO role since she was appointed to it in September 2010.

“There are just these very special moments where you’re handed this opportunity and you don’t know how it’s going to unfold,” she said.

“You don’t know what life’s going to bring you, what the challenges will be and what the opportunities will be.

“But I knew that this was an organisation I felt very passionate about in terms of its roles and responsibilities and its ability to have a big impact.

“I also knew we had a very special team.

“It was just a fantastic moment and a privilege, and it has remained a privilege ever since.”

Many see the pinnacle of Liz’s time at UK Sport as the phenomenal Rio 2016 Games where both Team GB and ParalympicsGB finished in an unprecedented 2nd place on the medal table, amassing 67/147 medals overall.

It marked the high point for a stunning 20 year journey that began with a dismal British performance at the Atlanta 1996 Games, where Team GB finished in 36th place in the medal table with just one solitary gold medal.

However, Liz says the day London won the bid to host the 2012 Games, where GB won an incredible 65/120 medals respectively at the Olympics and Paralympics to achieve 3rd place on the medal table, remains her favourite moment. 

“That was transformational for high performance sport and transformational for us as an organisation,” she explains.

“It transformed the opportunities that athletes and sports have had since then to be the best in the world so that was just an amazing moment.

“How that then played out was inspiring and the impact since has been remarkable.”

With Liz set to step down as CEO next summer, she has offered some advice to potential successors who may be interested in the role.

“If I think about my objectives as the CEO of UK Sport they are about leading the team; leading the whole UK Sport team and managing the Directors Team.

“They are about managing the reputation of the organisation.

“They are about overseeing the implementation of a clear strategy and making sure the resources and money are all aligned behind that.

“They are about stakeholder management outwards to the system and upwards to Government.

“So I would say if you’re interested in all of those factors you’d make a good CEO.

“This really is the best job in sport and I have enjoyed every minute of it.

“I am confident that it will attract some great applicants and my successor will find British sport in a good position to realise our vision of inspiring the nation in Tokyo and beyond.”

The candidate pack can be viewed here.

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