Clare Wardle has stepped down as the Chair of Basketball England after a four-year tenure to be succeeded with immediate effect by Matt Neville.
The national governing body will also be recruiting two new directors – one independent and one elected – with a desire to enhance the diversity of the organisation’s board.
Wardle has relinquished the role she took up in May 2016, saying: “After four fascinating, busy and challenging years, I am standing down because I cannot give it the time it needs.
“I have been inspired by the great people I have met and the amazing work that they do, not just for the sport but for the people and communities they serve, and I will take away lasting friendships. I would like to thank all those I have worked with for their passion, engagement, effort, patience, and all the amazing things they have achieved.”
Neville spent eight years as Non-Executive Director of British Gymnastics, including five as chair to the end of his maximum term in 2019, overseeing unprecedented international success, and a strong financial and membership position and seeing the organisation being named as NGB of the year in 2016.
He is a chartered accountant who, after qualifying with PricewaterhouseCoopers, enjoyed a long and successful career as Chief Financial Officer and CEO in the construction products industry and online retail.
He said: “I am delighted and honoured to be appointed as Chair for the Basketball England board and to continue Clare Wardle’s great work in the role.
“I take on the task in challenging times for Basketball England, as with all sports, as we focus on dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, and plan for life after it. But I look forward to working with CEO Stewart Kellett and the Board on this, as well as the exciting job of getting on with delivering BE’s strategic plan on the other side.
“Basketball is a vibrant, exciting sport and I look forward to being a part of realising its massive potential in this country.”
Basketball England will soon start the process of recruiting new board members after of the departures of Jason Seiken, following his relocation back to the US, and Alan Richardson, who stepped down in October last year.
Neville said: “We thank Jason and Alan for their contributions to the organisation.
“We now look forward to building on our recent engagement with the basketball community over issues around anti-racism and the Black Lives Matter movement and will be starting our drive for new recruits to our board with a desire to reflect the diverse make-up of our sport.”
Russell Bell will continue in his role as Vice Chair with responsibility, alongside Stewart Kellett, for the development of commercial opportunities for the sport and liaison with other basketball organisations in the UK, including the British Basketball Federation, the other Home Country Associations, the BBL and WBBL.
“A lot has been achieved in four years, including that special moment in Australia when our England women won the Commonwealth Games silver medal. When I arrived to join a new CEO, Stewart Kellett, BE faced some very basic challenges. It needed to become solvent, have good governance and to reconnect with all its stakeholders, including its members, and to work together with other bodies in the sport.
“We have put the finances on sound footing and put in place good financial reporting and processes. We have a strong board. We have overhauled the governance and made significant progress towards 21st century IT systems. We have an excellent safeguarding service.
“We have frameworks to listen, consult with and talk to our membership. I have been very grateful to Regional chairs, in particular, for their advice on key issues.
“BE also has a solid framework to work with partners including the WBBL, BBL, Wales, Scotland and the BBF with a much more coherent pathway. And we have made great progress initiatives such as Junior NBA and AllGirls, which is very close to my heart.
“There is still a huge amount to do. A lot of the problems come back to not enough money in the game. And COVID-19 poses very particular challenges to the sport. But my successor, Matt Neville brings a wealth of experience.”