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New Chairs for Sport England and UK Sport appointed

The former chief executive of the Royal Yachting Association, Rod Carr CBE, and London Marathon chief executive Nick Bitel have been appointed as chairs of UK Sport and Sport England respectively.  The announcement was made by Sports Minister Hugh Robertson today.

Mr Carr and Mr Bitel will be tasked to help deliver a lasting sports legacy from London 2012 and use their commercial and sports administration experience to bolster both organisations and ensure maximum return and results for the public investment in sport.

Mr Carr’s main focus will be to keep up the momentum from Team GB and Paralympics GB’s performances in London last summer, ensuring that Britain’s elite athletes remain among the best in the world.  UK Sport’s ambition is for Team GB and Paralympics GB to win more medals at Rio in 2016 than in London.  The organisation is investing £500 million of Exchequer and Lottery funding in the run-up to Rio, to boost our elite sports performance and secure more major sports events for the UK.

Mr Bitel will be tasked with helping Sport England deliver its community sports legacy plans and strengthen grassroots sport across the country. Sports participation is at an all-time high following London 2012, and Sport England aims to build on this even further, increasing the number of people playing sport and continuing to improve facilities. Mr Bitel has a wealth of experience in engaging people to participate in sport through his record as chief executive of the London Marathon.  Sport England is investing more than £1 billion of Lottery and Exchequer funding over five years to boost grassroots sport and encourage people to develop a sporting habit for life.

Minister for Sport Hugh Robertson said:

“We had a very strong field of applicants for these positions and it was important we got the very best people in place. Rod Carr has a wealth of experience in elite sport, and Nick Bitel has run the most successful mass participation sports event in this country for almost twenty years.  Both are experienced sports administrators and join UK Sport and Sport England at a crucial time to build on the success of London 2012 and deliver a lasting legacy. I look forward to working with them both in the future.”

Mr Carr said:

“Having worked in the British sporting system and with UK Sport for many years, I feel honoured to be entrusted with leading this high performing organisation into the Rio cycle.  Our job is to ensure our Olympic and Paralympic athletes are best placed to keep delivering those magical moments that we all enjoyed last summer, to inspire the next generation for many years to come. The ambitious goal to win more medals in Rio will be our toughest challenge yet, but I’m confident that we can deliver. I look forward to working with our partners, particularly the four home country sports councils, to ensure we are better aligned that ever before, to continue to develop British sport and the system supporting our athletes, which is already highly regarded around the world.”

Mr Bitel said:

“I am delighted to be joining Sport England at what is a very exciting time for the organisation. London 2012 has given us a huge opportunity to deliver a real boost for community sport and Sport England is central to achieving this. I look forward to working with Jennie Price, her excellent team and Sport England’s stakeholders and partners to encourage greater participation in sport and ensure a lasting, tangible legacy from the Games.”

Chairman of the British Olympic Association and the Government’s Olympic and Paralympic legacy ambassador Lord Coe said:

“I look forward to working with Rod and Nick as we seek to build upon last year’s remarkable summer of sport and inspire people of every age to take up sport and benefit from its life-changing values.  London 2012 should represent the beginning of a new era for sport in our country, and our partners at UK Sport and Sport England can count on the full support of the British Olympic Association in building upon the momentum from those remarkable Games.”

Mr Carr is a hugely experienced sports administrator. He retired as the chief executive officer of the Royal Yachting Association in 2010 after holding the position for a decade. He has also served on the UK Sport’s board for ten years. Mr Carr was previously performance director for yachting, deputy chef de mission for Team GB at the Sydney Olympics, and has been involved in eight Olympic Games.

Mr Bitel has been the chief executive officer of the London Marathon since 1995. During his time at the London Marathon, and with no public money, the race has grown to become a world class fixture in the international sports calendar attracting major commercial sponsors.

Mr Bitel and his team have also turned the London Marathon into a globally recognised event with one of the biggest mass participation sport events in the country, specifically targeting low participation groups. Mr Bitel is currently a member of the Sport England main board, a position he has held since 2010.  As a lawyer, Mr Bitel represented many of the leading sports events and organisations including the Wimbledon Championships, Ryder Cup, PGA European Tour and the RFU.  He is also currently a board member of the London Legacy Development Corporation.

The positions became available following UK Sport chair Baroness Sue Campbell and Sport England chair Richard Lewis leaving at the end of their terms. Mr Carr and Mr Bitel take up their roles on Monday 22 April.