Brian Facer has departed as the CEO of British Cycling with immediate effect after less than two years in the job. The decision, announced on Monday morning, was made with "mutual agreement" with the board of directors, and the search for a new CEO is underway.
The move follows a year of controversies for the governing body of cycling, including blocking trans riders from competing, U-turning on guidance saying that cyclists should not ride on the day of the Queen's funeral, and British Cycling announcing a partnership with the oil and gas giant Shell.
Facer joined BC as CEO at the beginning of 2021, moving across from the rugby union club London Irish; he replaced Julie Harrington, who was in charge of the body from 2017.
Danielle Every, British Cycling's cycling delivery director, has been appointed as Acting CEO while a hunt for a new permanent chief occurs.
His time in charge was a difficult one, with Facer having to deal with the continued impact of the pandemic. In its accounts for the year to March 31 2021 the national governing body reported its total income fell 26% from £33.5m in the 2019-2020 financial year to £24.6m last year.
The number of regional bike races across the country has recovered to just 60% of pre-pandemic levels, according to British Cycling’s annual report.
The report, which was published earlier in October, outlined that regional racing was “hit hardest” by the pandemic, with event numbers reaching 50% by March 2022, and rising to 60% by July 2022.
Frank Slevin, the chair of the body, said in a statement on Monday: “We remain fully committed to the delivery of our ‘Lead our sport, inspire our communities’ strategy, as we continue our work to support and grow our sport and wider activities, and provide our Great Britain Cycling Team riders with the best possible platform for success.
“Our new CEO will join the organisation at an exciting time as we build towards next year’s inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships in Scotland, and the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024.”
When he joined in 2021, Slevin said: "Brian is a British Cycling member and a passionate cyclist, and he understands the needs of the cycling community who are the core of the organisation. What also impressed us was his knowledge of British Cycling, and his commitment to investing in all of our staff and volunteers, so that they can achieve their own potential and make the federation as a whole even stronger...
“It has been a tough year for sport but at British Cycling we are proud of the resilience and commitment that has brought us through it. I know Brian is relishing the challenge of leading the organisation as we look to a new year – including the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the way forward for our sport out of the Covid-19 crisis and the opportunities presented by a country which has seen a massive increase in the numbers of people who have been getting on their bikes.”
Cycling Weekly understands that the board of British Cycling remains committed to the Shell partnership.
The eight-year deal made Shell UK an "Official Partner" of British Cycling, which has previously been sponsored by Sky and HSBC. Since the end of 2021, BC has been without a top-level sponsor but Shell will take a lower role than lead sponsor in this deal, which runs until 2030.
The agreement with the oil and gas company provoked strong criticism from members and pressure groups, with Greenpeace UK saying at the time that the deal was “as absurd as beef farmers advising lettuce farmers on how to go vegan”.
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