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Clark joins UK Athletics as CEO recruitment drive begins

UK Athletics has kicked off its search for a new chief executive after confirming the appointment of Chris Clark as chair of the organisation.

UK Athletics has advertised the role, to be based in the UK’s West Midlands, with a closing date of July 12 for applications.

The body has been without a chief executive since Niels de Vos stepped down in September 2018.

Reports in April suggested that former Wales rugby union international Nigel Walker had emerged as a leading contender for the role, although UK Athletics said that it would be an “open” recruitment process.

On the advert, “experience in successfully setting and implementing strategy for an organisation of a similar scale and complexity as CEO, or senior equivalent, particularly through periods of change”, is listed as an “essential skill”.

The search for a successor has been delayed by the departure of chairman Richard Bowker in January – although the arrival of Clark will accelerate the process.

Clark, the former head of global marketing at banking giant HSBC, was selected by the UK Athletics board following the “unanimous recommendation of the Athletics Appointment Panel”.

Before joining HSBC, Clark, a keen runner who has completed four London Marathons, spent seven years at Saatchi & Saatchi.

“As a nation we have a very proud heritage of performance on all levels of the world stage and the grassroots of this great sport are in great shape and thriving with ever increasing numbers of runners taking part in events and staying fit,” he said.

Clark will work alongside interim chair Sarah Rowell from July 1, as well as the board and the senior executive team, on a transition over the summer.

Meanwhile Rowell, who has served on the UK Athletics board since her appointment as a non-executive director just over seven years ago, will be extending her final term on the board by a year.

However, senior independent director Peter Taylor, who joined the board in September 2016, will be stepping down. Penny Avis, who joined the board in November 2017 as a non-executive director and chair of the audit committee, has been appointed as Taylor’s successor.

UK Athletics is also seeking to recruit two more non-executive directors.