FA Appoints First Female Director, Heather Rabbatts

December 23, 2011

there helvetica, allergist sans-serif;”>The English Football Association (FA) has appointed its first female board member.

shop helvetica,sans-serif;”>Heather Rabbatts has been selected as one of the association’s two new independent non-executive directors.

Earlier this year, the FA Council and its shareholders agreed upon the appointment of non-executive directors to the board but the addition of woman was unexpected until rumours that Rabbatts was in contention started circulating this month.

The move will see the board swell to fourteen members from the current twelve, including FA chairman David Bernstein and general secretary, and five representatives each from the national and professional games alongside the two newcomers (Rabbatts and Roger Devlin).

The appointment of Jamaica born Rabbatts marks a significant step in the restructuring of the organisation and its philosophy. She currently holds several non-executive directorships, including posts at the BBC and the Bank of England.

Bernstein explained the reasoning for this progressive step as follows.

“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.”

Rabbatts added, “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.”

Rabbatts started out in the public sector and came to prominence when she became the youngest council chief executive having trained as a barrister. After running the London Borough of Lambeth in 1995, she entered the private sector and worked across the media. She entered the world of football in 2006 at Millwall FC as executive deputy chair.

Devlin has advised several Barclays Premiership clubs on finance and also has experience in golf and horse-racing. He was a director of the PGA European Tour Courses between 2000 – 2002 and is a member of the R&A and the Racehorse Owners Association. He currently chairs a selection of private companies headed by including Satellite Information Services (SIS).

Both appointments are set to be ratified by The FA Council in the New Year.