18th June 2019


Following the conclusion of an open recruitment process, UK Athletics is delighted to confirm the appointment of Chris Clark as Chair to the organisation. The appointment was made following the unanimous recommendation of the Athletics Appointment Panel (AAP) and approved by the UKA Board.

As a former head of Global Marketing for HSBC, Chris gained extensive experience developing key relationships with rights holders, governing bodies and marketing agencies to expand the HSBC brand and become one of the dominant players in global sports sponsorship, renowned for their innovative, bold and impactful approach across sports including golf, rugby, cycling and badminton.

His early career was founded in advertising where he spent seven years at Saatchi & Saatchi. In recent years he has moved into a portfolio career and currently holds two non – executive positions with Aviva UK Digital and the Board of the Royal Marsden NHS Trust.

His interest in athletics ranges from that of a keen spectator in his youth, to that as a parent to a high standard middle-distance athlete. He has also completed four London Marathons, alongside multiple 10k and cross-country races.

He strongly believes in the role athletics has to play in the sporting portfolio of the nation, with its easy access, social inclusiveness and proud history of societal impact and benefit.

Chris Clark said: “I am thrilled to be taking on the Chair role of UKA. 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.

“I am very much looking forward to a strong partnership with my fellow Chairs in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. There will be much to get done with Tokyo 2020 just around the corner and I’m sure we will be managing a pretty busy ‘to do’ list.

“I’d like to thank all those who took part in the process of my appointment and look forward to meeting the team at UKA as well as other parts of the sport as soon as I can.”

Chris joins as Chair of the UK Athletics Board from 01 July and will be working with interim Chair Sarah Rowell, the Board and the senior executive team on a managed transition over the summer.

The Board are also pleased to report that Sarah Rowell, who has served on the UK Athletics Board since her appointment as a Non-Executive Director in April 2012, will be extending her final term on the Board by a year, enabling UK Athletics to benefit from her experience throughout the critical Olympic and Paralympic year, providing continuity to the on-going performance review and forthcoming Paris funding cycle bid to UK Sport.

She said: “Having been closely involved in the recruitment process, I am delighted that Chris has accepted the position of Chair and I am looking forward with absolute confidence to working closely with him over the summer months and beyond as we finalise the new UKA organisational strategy and move into the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic season.”

In addition, the current Senior Independent Director (SID) Peter Taylor, who joined the Board in September 2016, will be stepping down in order to take up a new role in education. The Board wishes to thank him for his valuable contribution to the Board of UK Athletics during that time. Penny Avis, who joined the Board in November 2017 as a Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee, has been appointed as the new SID.

The recruitment process for the role of Chief Executive Officer will commence with the advert for the role going live this week.  As well as recruitment for the CEO, two further NEDs will be recruited. One role will fill the vacancy left by Peter Taylor’s departure, whilst a second role will be recruited to work alongside Sarah Rowell over her remaining term with a view to chairing the Performance Oversight Committee thereafter. These roles will also be advertised shortly.

More details on Sarah’s handover with Chris and UK Athletics’ plans for the future will be outlined in our regular column in this Thursday’s edition of AW.

*Photo credit: Juliana Johnston