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The FA welcomes new faces to the board

Thu 22nd Dec 2011 | Football Governance

The FA have taken their first steps to restructure its board after they unanimously approved the appointment of Heather Rabbatts CBE and Roger Devlin as two new independent non-executive directors.

The pair had unanimous recommendations submitted to the Board earlier today by a nominations committee and the appointments will now be put to The FA Council for ratification early in the New Year.

Rabbatts, 56, will become the first female to ever sit on The FA Board and has more than 20 years executive and non-executive experience from both the public and private sector and across a breadth of industries, including local government, media, financial services and football.

Devlin, 54, is a vastly experienced non-executive director and has operated as a senior executive within the corporate sector for globally recognised, large-scale organisations, with expertise in the banking sector, sport, media rights, property and hotels.

A year to the day of his own appointment as FA Chairman, David Bernstein said: “I am naturally delighted by the decision of the Board to endorse the appointments of both Heather and Roger.

“This is an important moment for The FA and represents a significant change to our governance structures.

“There were numerous outstanding candidates for the roles, but the important thing is that our decision was based on recruiting suitable individuals who are able to provide a strong challenge and supplement the existing range of skills and experience on the Board.

“I would like to thank the Board, Council and Shareholders for their support to date, and I look forward very much to working with Heather and Roger in the future.”

Rabbatts said: “Having worked across media, business and football I hope to bring those experiences to my work at The FA. In particular, over many years, including my time at Millwall, I have worked across communities to both improve participation and to develop talent.

“I am obviously delighted to be joining the Board at The FA and working with colleagues to support the future of football in England.”

Devlin said: “It is an honour to be put forward for such an important role within the national game and I relish the opportunity to be able to positively input into the future of football in England.

“It is clear there is a great strength within the current FA Board and I hope to be able to supplement that with my own skills and experience. My own knowledge of the game will stand me in good stead for this new challenge, and I look forward to being able to work collaboratively with my new colleagues as soon as possible.”

Rabbatts, who was born in Kingston, Jamaica, trained as a barrister but made her name as the youngest council chief executive and subsequently went on to run the London Borough of Lambeth in 1995. She then left the public sector and worked in the private sector primarily in media, before becoming the Executive Deputy Chair of Millwall FC in 2006.

Rabbatts has held a number of non-executive directorships including Governor of the BBC, Trustee of the Bank of England, a non-executive at Grovenor and the Royal Opera House. She was awarded a CBE in the 2000 New Year Honours list.

Devlin brings a genuine passion for sport and football. He was awarded a golf blue while reading law at Oxford, served as a Director of PGA European Tour Courses between 2000 and 2002, and he is a member of the R&A and the Racehorse Owners Association. Roger was an executive Director of Hilton International and Ladbrokes and now chairs a number of substantial private companies including Satellite Information Services which incorporates BBC Outside Broadcasts. He has been a financial advisor to a number of Premier League clubs and demonstrates an excellent understanding of the business of football.

Earlier this year The FA Council and Shareholders overwhelmingly approved the principle of the appointment of non-executive directors to The FA Board.

The appointment would see the existing Board extended from 12 to 14 members, comprising five representatives from the National Game, five from the Professional Game, The FA Chairman and General Secretary as well as the two new independent non-executive directors.

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