British Cycling has announced Jon Dutton as its new CEO, a former head of the Rugby League World Cup. Dutton will become the third person in charge at BC in seven months, after Danielle Every's short tenure as acting CEO followed the departure of the previous boss Brian Facer, who left following a tumultuous year for British Cycling, having spent less than two years in the job.
He will begin in the role, overseeing the national governing body, across BMX, cyclocross, cycle speedway, mountain biking, road and track, later this month.
Prior to his role at the Rugby League World Cup, which took place in England last year, he was Director of Projects and People for the Rugby Football League, through which he led the successful bid for the tournament.
Previously, Dutton was director of readiness for the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire, in addition to experience working for major organisations including the PGA European Tour and UEFA. He is also a board member of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow and across Scotland.
Every was acting CEO from October after Facer's departure, but announced in December that she would be leaving to take up a position as chief operating officer at PGMOL – the organisation overseeing professional football referees and match officials in England
BC was at the heart of three separate controversies this year, beginning with its decision to block trans athletes from competing back in April, pending a full review.
It then came under fire in September after suggesting that its members should not ride their bikes on the day of the Queen's funeral. After widespread criticism from members on social media who questioned its decision to dictate their leisure riding choices, BC was forced to back down and retract that guidance, but it had left a bad taste.
There was then the announcement of an eight-year sponsorship deal with oil and gas giant Shell. For many, this was a controversial move for the cycling body and it came in for severe criticism from many directions. The deal was branded as sportswashing, and unethical; even politicians weighed in, with the Green Party saying that BC had "seriously let down its members".
There are many things in Dutton's in-tray, including boosting BC's finances and membership numbers, solving its image problem, sorting out elite racing, especially on the domestic scene, and fixing amateur racing.
In a press release on Thursday, Dutton said that there were "boundless opportunities for growth".
“It is a privilege to be appointed as Chief Executive of British Cycling, and I am very much looking forward to getting started in the role," he said. “I am very grateful to the British Cycling Board for putting their faith in me and while the current landscape for all sports is challenging, there are also boundless opportunities for growth.
“Over the short term I look forward to meeting many of the people that contribute to ensuring that British Cycling continues to nurture talent, positively impact communities, and harness the success of our country's best riders to grow the sport at every level."
Earlier this year, BC chair Frank Slevin told Cycling Weekly that BC had scrapped its ambitious target to increase its membership from around 150,000 to 250,000 by the Paris Olympics, as it weathers the effects of the cost of living crisis and the fallout from a year of controversies.
In an exclusive interview, he said the governing body will now prioritise other things, including the Glasgow World Championships this summer.
“I can put down 10 different reasons, including the economic and cost of living situation, why that membership number is not one we should aspire to. I’m realistic and I won’t pursue objectives which don’t have a foundation that’s credible,” Slevin said.
In the press release on Thursday, Slevin said: “I’m delighted to welcome Jon to the organisation at the end of what has been a really robust and competitive process to find the right candidate to lead our organisation forwards.
“The Board and I were hugely impressed by the breadth of Jon’s experience both within cycling and in the wider sport sector, alongside his ability to lead teams with purpose and drive them towards strategic and commercial success."
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