BHA appoint former Olympian as new Chair

02 Apr 2019 BHA Features Financial/Political

Annamarie Phelps, Vice-Chair of the British Olympic Association and a former Olympic rower, has been appointed as the new Chair of the British Horseracing Authority. She will take up the post on 1st June.

Annamarie is an experienced senior figure in British sport. She has worked for a variety of governing bodies dealing with complex political and regulatory issues and was the Chair of British Rowing until last year. She chaired the independent review into British Cycling in 2017.

Annamarie competed for Britain at the Atlanta Games in 1996 in the women’s eight and was a world champion in 1993. She was awarded a CBE for services to rowing in 2016. This is her first role in horseracing.

Annamarie Phelps said:

“I relish the opportunity to work in British Racing. Everything I’ve seen and heard tells me that racing people are passionate about their sport, proud of its magnificent heritage and unified by a love of horses.

“I am looking forward to working with new colleagues at the BHA and across the sport. My priority is to help with the immediate challenges we face, but I am excited by the opportunities for racing to grow and flourish in the years ahead.

“I believe that collaboration is the key to success and am privileged to be given a chance to play my part.”

Annamarie was selected unanimously by the BHA’s Nominations Committee, which includes representatives nominated by racecourses and horsemen. Her appointment was approved by the BHA’s shareholders and the Board.

The Chair of the Nominations Committee and the BHA’s Senior Independent Director, Andrew Merriam, said:

“I’m delighted that we are able to appoint a candidate of such high calibre. Annamarie has demonstrated impressive leadership skills and an astute grasp of the issues facing major sports, including their engagement with government. She will bring a challenging and independent perspective to the BHA’s work and be a powerful advocate for horseracing.”

Nicholas Cooper, President of the Racehorse Owners Association, who represented The Horsemen’s Group during the selection process, said:

“Annamarie understands the drive, determination and commitment to excellence of professional sportsmen and women and will be a great supporter of racing’s participants.”

Maggie Carver, the Chair of the Racecourse Association, and a Member’s Nominated Director on the BHA Board said:

“We were impressed by Annamarie’s commitment to collaboration with the racing industry in her new role as the BHA’s Chair and I look forward to working closely with her in future.”

Atholl Duncan will continue as BHA Chairman until Annamarie Phelps takes up the post.  Andrew Merriam added:

“On behalf of the BHA, I would like to say a big thank-you to Atholl Duncan who has been an excellent Chairman since November. Atholl has helped the sport grapple with some tricky issues, playing a significant role in bringing people together to resolve the recent dispute over prize money.”

Notes to editors:

1. Annamarie joins the BHA Board from the British Olympic Association (BOA), where she was a Board member since 2015 and Vice Chair since February 2017. She also currently holds a number of other senior positions including member of the Sports Advisory Group, Independent Chair of the National Safeguarding Adults in Sport Strategic Partnership, Associate Consultant for Safe Sport International and Director of the Fine Art Society.

Her previous roles include Chair of the Cycling Independent Review which was commissioned by UK Sport & British Cycling, Chair of British Rowing, Vice Chair of the British Paralympic Association, and member of the DCMS Duty of Care in Sport Working Group.

As an athlete she represented Britain in the women’s eight at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and was World Champion in 1993, alongside winning numerous world medals in the lightweight fours. She was also a Commonwealth Rowing Championships medallist and world champion and record holder in indoor rowing from 1992 – 1994.

She was awarded the CBE for services to rowing in 2016.

2. The current BHA Board consists of:

Atholl Duncan (Chair)
Nick Rust (Chief Executive)
Andrew Merriam (Senior Independent Director)
Sir Paul Stephenson (Independent Regulatory Director)
Noel Harwerth (Independent Non-Executive Director)
Joe Saumarez Smith (Independent Non-Executive Director)
Laura Whyte (Independent Non-Executive Director)
Rupert Arnold (Member Nominated Director)
Nicholas Cooper (Member Nominated Director)
David Armstrong (Member Nominated Director)
Maggie Carver (Member Nominated Director)

3. Annamarie Phelps