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UK Athletics names Coward as interim CEO

Nic Coward, the new interim CEO of UK Athletics (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images For ICSS)

UK Athletics has appointed Nic Coward as its temporary chief executive as the search continues for a permanent successor to Niels de Vos.

Coward is expected to take charge for a period of months, at least, as the organisation continues its preparations for this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Currently the chair of England Golf and of the England & Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Regulatory Committee, Coward has also previously taken temporary charge of the Football Association on two occasions, served as general secretary of the Premier League between 2011 and 2015, and was chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority from 2007 to 2011.

He will become UKA’s second interim appointment to the role since de Vos stepped down in September 2018. Nigel Holl originally took up the reins on a temporary basis, but left in November last year to become executive performance director at British Curling. 

Zara Hyde Peters was then named as the body’s permanent chief executive, an appointment which fell through following concerns raised over a safeguarding issue regarding Hyde Peters’ husband. 

“Athletics is a sport that captures the nation’s imagination each and every year, but Olympic and Paralympic year is even more special,” Coward said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to working with the board and all the team, across the organisation, at such an important time for the sport.”

UKA chairman Chris Clark added: “Appointing an interim CEO is the first important step to ensure we have strong leadership for the sport working alongside our management team and the board, and ultimately supporting our world class programme so they all give their very best in Tokyo.

“Nic is a highly-experienced sport executive and will provide an important leadership role until such time our next CEO, currently being recruited, can start.”