UK Athletics appoint experienced sports administrator as temporary chief executive until a full-time successor to Niels de Vos is found

Nic Coward will steer UK Athletics through the coming months in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics as its interim chief executive.

An experienced sports administrator, he was general secretary of the Premier League from 2011-15, CEO of the British Horseracing Authority from 2007-11 and has twice been acting CEO of the Football Association, whereas his current roles include being chair of England Golf and the England & Wales Cricket Board Regulatory Committee.

Since Niels de Vos resigned as UKA’s chief executive in autumn 2018, the governing body was steered by interim CEO Nigel Holl, although he left the governing body last year. Zara Hyde Peters was then due to start as chief executive in November but the appointment fell through due to much publicised safeguarding issues.

UKA say they are still recruiting for a full-time successor to De Vos but that Coward will fulfil the role in the meantime and the governing body says Coward has “considerable experience navigating the complexity of international and domestic stakeholders within the sporting landscape”.

“Athletics is a sport that captures the nation’s imagination each and every year, but Olympic and Paralympic year is even more special,” he says. “I’m looking forward to working with the board and all the team, across the organisation, at such an important time for the sport.”

Chris Clark, chair of UKA, added: “Olympic and Paralympic year is always hugely important for the sport and it’s essential we continue to make progress in these final few months in the approach to the Games. Appointing an interim CEO is the first important step to ensure we have strong leadership for the sport working alongside our management team and the board, and ultimately supporting our world class programme so they all give their very best in Tokyo.

“Nic is a highly experienced sport executive and will provide an important leadership role until such time our next CEO, currently being recruited, can start.”

Among its many challenges, UKA is currently dealing with a critical review of its elite athlete support set-up and performance coaching.

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