Nick Bitel (Chair)
Nick Bitel was appointed Chair of Sport England in April 2013 following three years as a Board Member. He has been the Chief Executive of the London Marathon, the world's most successful city centre marathon, since 1995. The event has grown substantially in that time and now sees over 35,000 finishers each year who between them raise a world record £65.1 million per annum.
Nick is also a solicitor and consultant at Kerman & Co specialising in sports law. His major event clients include The Wimbledon Championships and the UEFA. Nick is a Board Member of UK Sport and a trustee of the Wimbledon Foundation.
Debbie Jevans CBE (Vice-Chair)
Debbie Jevans has spent her entire career in sport. A former professional tennis player who competed in all four Grand Slams, and represented Great Britain at junior and senior levels.
She is currently a director at the Football League, the All England Tennis Club and Wimbledon Championships and is a Trustee of the Invictus Games Foundation and Fields in Trust Charities.
She was previously General Secretary of the International Tennis Federation, Director of Sport at the London organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Gamesa and was Chief Executive of 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Kate has worked in sport for over 15 years. Starting in 2003, Kate built one of the most successful independent sports and fitness PR agencies in the UK.
As founder and CEO, Kate led communications strategies for a host of global sports and FMCG brands and rights holders, including adidas, The European Tour – 2010 Ryder Cup, Lucozade, Maxinutrition, Technogym, The North Face, UEFA and Unilever.
Kate first sold her business to Speed Communications in 2012 and then again in 2014 to the Mission Marketing Group. She recently stepped back from the running of the agency to take on a consultancy role advising key clients.
A board member of Sport England since 2013, Kate is board lead for the hugely successful and award winning This Girl Can campaign. Kate’s term comes to an end in 2019.
Kate is also Trustee for Disability Sports Coach, a charity which provides sports clubs for young people with disabilities.
A sports mad mother of two young children, Kate loves the outdoors, motorbikes and anything adventurous.
Prof Denise Barrett-Baxendale
One of the most prominent and respected women in the world of football, Prof Denise Barrett-Baxendale MBE is a director at Everton Football Club, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Everton Football Club. She is also Executive Chair of the club's official charity, Everton in the Community.
Denise arrived at the Club in January 2010 to lead and develop a transformation strategy for EitC – since then, she has presided over a prolific period of achievement, with EitC receiving over 100 awards.
These successes laid the foundations for Denise to take a greater involvement in the operation of the Club through her promotion to Chief Operating Officer and, subsequently, Deputy Chief Executive, where she played an integral part in improving the match day experience for supporters, in turn helping to increase attendances and enhance Everton’s reputation both nationally and abroad.
Denise has received wide-spread recognition for her work on Merseyside – including being named a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for ‘Services to the Community of Merseyside’. Under Denise’s stewardship Everton in the Community were honoured with the Freedom of the City of Liverpool in January 2018, recognising the work undertaken by the charity on behalf of the city’s residents for over the past 30 years.
Away from Everton, Denise has a catalogue of accolades and duties. This year she became the Chair of the Special Olympics Bid Team Liverpool, while in 2017 she was appointed as a Deputy Chair to the Liverpool Commonwealth Games Advisory Board, took up a Board position with Sport England, became the Regional President for Girlguiding and received a prestigious Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University.
Within the Liverpool City Region, Denise also sits on a Creative Commission for the Lord Mayor, serves as a patron of St Vincent’s School for the Blind and received an induction as a Fellow of Angela Hall at Liverpool Hope University.
In 2016 Denise was further appointed to the University’s Executive Advisory Team and was invited to join the Children’s Commissioner Advisory Board launching the ‘Growing up North’ project.
Previously, Denise was also a Non-Executive Director and Vice Chairperson of British Canoeing (the UK Olympic and Paralympic team).
In 1990, Wasim became the first British-born Pakistani to become a professional cricketer in England. He played in the historical double-winning team at Warwickshire in 1995.
In 2005, Wasim was recruited by Lord Mervyn King, former Governor of the Bank of England, to plan and deliver Chance to Shine, a £50 million cricket education programme in state schools. By 2014, £55m had been raised and the programme had delivered to over 2.5m state school children, including 1m girls.
In 2015, Wasim completed an Executive MBA at Warwick Business School and also took on the role of chief executive of Leicestershire County Cricket Club. In doing so, he became the first person of south Asian origin to become a CEO of a County Cricket Club. His autobiography, Brim Full of Passion, won the coveted prize of Wisden Book of the Year in 2006.
He currently sits on the England Cricket Board's Anti-Corruption Unit and has previously been involved with the Equality & Human Rights Commission Sports Group and The Prince's Trust Cricket Group. Wasim joined the Sport England Board on 28 October 2016.
Chris has been chief executive officer of Sported since 2014, where he has been spearheading its mission to transform the lives of disadvantaged young people through sport.
After an early career in Parliament and higher education, he spent 20 years building a successful consulting practice in the development of organisations and their leadership. He served as a volunteer Trustee of International Inspiration, which works to use the power of sport for the benefit of young people around the world.
In 2011 Chris was involved in setting up the FRE Flyers, a multi-sports club for young people in London’s East End inspired by the Olympics and Paralympics.
Another dimension to his sports-related work is in facilitating a number of elite coach development programmes for UK Sport. Chris joined the Sport England Board on 9 September 2016.
Former Director of Group Communications and Customer Service at Nationwide, Charles Reed ended a successful career in financial services in 2008. In 2010 he joined the board of English Federation of Disability Sports (EFDS), becoming Chair in 2011.
He is also a Trustee of the London Marathon Charitable Trust; and Chair of the Advisory Board for Cirencester College's Sports Career Academy which helps develop students who are seeking careers in the sports sector.
Andy is chief executive of Pentland Brands, a privately owned UK-based business with a portfolio of sports and lifestyle brands including Speedo, Berghaus and Canterbury. In this role his business perspective encompasses sport globally from occasional activity through to elite performance, and across all age groups.
Initially trained as a management accountant, Andy's whole career has been in consumer goods, living and working across different regions of England as well as briefly overseas.
After 25 years playing and volunteering in grassroots rugby, he is now most active in the gym and as a parent volunteer, occasionally indulging his competitive instincts by trying to beat his own personal best at the local park run. Andy joined the Sport England Board on 9 September 2016.
During her 20-year international career, Karen won 35 major championship medals and 38 national titles despite breaking her back in a car accident in 1996. She was four times world champion, broke two world records and competed at four consecutive Olympic Games.
Since her retirement from competitive swimming, Karen has become a popular motivational and after dinner speaker and commentates for BBC 5 Live, BBC TV and Channel 4. In 2013, she founded The Karen Pickering SWIM Foundation, to run alongside her swim schools, offering bursaries to those who might otherwise be unable to afford swimming lessons.
Passionate about giving elite athletes a voice, she was chair of the British Athletes Commission and formerly sat on the executive boards of the English Institute of Sport and the BOA-Athlete Commission. Karen joined the Sport England Board on 28 October 2016.
Professor Ian Cumming
Ian is Health Education England’s (HEE) first chief executive, a position he has held since 2012. HEE is one of the six arm’s length bodies responsible for the national oversight, regulation and management of the NHS in England.
Ian started his career in the NHS as a healthcare scientist before moving into NHS management in the late 80s. In 1995, he took up his first hospital Trust chief executive post. Since then he has held CEO positions at a Teaching Hospitals group, as an NHS Commissioner and, from 2009-2012, as CEO of the NHS in the West Midlands.
Ian has been awarded honorary degrees by Lancaster, Manchester Metropolitan, Birmingham City and Wolverhampton Universities and Honorary Fellowships by the Royal College of General Practitioners, and the University of Cumbria. He is an Honorary Professor of Healthcare Leadership at Lancaster University Medical School and Visiting Professor of Healthcare Management at the University of Pavia, Italy.
Outside the NHS Ian is a Level 3 swimming coach and deputy head coach at Pershore Swimming Club (voluntary). He is also a qualified sports therapist and is currently completing an MSc in sports and exercise medicine. This year, the Amateur Swimming Association invited Ian to chair its national Commission on swimming and health. Ian joined the Sport England Board on 28 October 2016.
Jennie Price, Chief Executive
Jennie Price, a barrister by training, has been at Sport England since April 2007.
Under her leadership, Sport England has seen the number of people regularly taking part in sport grow by 1.6m people since London won the bid to host the Olympic Games in 2012.
Most recently, Jennie has led the team that commissioned the multi-award winning This Girl Can Campaign, which has received widespread support and acclaim.
Prior to joining Sport England, Jennie was the founding Chief Executive of WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) who oversaw an increase in the UK’s domestic recycling rate from 13% to over 30%.
Before heading WRAP, Jennie spent 17 years in the construction industry, first as a lawyer and then as Chief Executive of the Major Contractors Group and the Construction Confederation. Jennie has also written two text books on construction law.
Jennie is a Visiting Fellow at the Cranfield School of Management, Chair of the Lottery Forum and the Youth United Foundation. Additionally, in January 2017 she joined the Step Up To Serve Advisory Council, convened by HRH The Prince of Wales.
In 2017, Jennie was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to sport, especially increasing women and girls participation in sport.
Rona Chester, Chief Operating Officer
Rona joined Sport England in 2010 from the Law Society, where she was Group Finance Director. As well as supporting the CEO on all financial and governance matters, she was responsible for developing the commercial awareness of the organisation and managing a team in finance, facilities and internal audit.
Rona’s previous roles have included Finance Director at the communications industry regulator, OFCOM, and European Finance Director for Sotheby’s. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW).
Mike Diaper, Community Sport
Mike joined Sport England in November 2006 from central government where he worked across the Departments for Education and Skills and for Culture, Media and Sport, leading the PE, School Sport and Club Links strategy.
He was awarded an OBE in the 2007 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to school sport.
Charles Johnston, Director of Property
A qualified engineer who also has a Master’s in Business Administration, Charles started at Sport England in 2008 from MDA Consulting where he was Chairman and CEO.
He began his career at Jaguar before joining Sainsbury’s where he helped to develop Homebase stores and the Savacentre Hypermarkets as Project Manager. He progressed to become Director of Construction and Facilities.
He was one of the founders of the Reading Construction Forum and led the team that developed the system of partnering in conjunction with Reading University.
Lisa O'Keefe, Director of Insight
Former Scottish rugby international Lisa O’Keefe joined Sport England’s south east office in 2000, having started her career in the Financial Sector. During her time at Sport England she held a variety of roles including Head of Sports Development, Head of Delivery, and Interim Regional Director before moving to Sport England’s national office in 2007 as Head of National Sport. In July 2008, she was appointed Director of Sport responsible for the design and implementation of the National Governing Body of Sport investment.
Following the creation of a new Directorate, Lisa was appointed Director of Insight in 2013.
During her playing career, Lisa won 45 Scotland international rugby caps between 1994 and 2006 and competed in two World Cups, one European championship and numerous Six Nations, and enjoyed great success domestically, winning league and cup titles with Richmond Rugby Club for whom she was Club Captain.
Phil Smith, Director of Sport
Phil joined Sport England from The Football Association, where his professional career started in 1996 as the General Secretary of the County FA in Manchester. In recent years he was The FA’s Head of Public Affairs, responsible for policy and public affairs, including working with the Government on the various issues affecting both professional and amateur football.