Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale, MBE, is a Director and Chief Executive Officer of Everton Football Club. Having previously held the roles of Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive, Professor Barrett-Baxendale was appointed CEO in June 2018 and immediately outlined her ambitions for Everton, alongside a strategic vision of how a newly-created Leadership Team would deliver the Club’s long-term goals on and off the field.
Since that time, she has steered the Club through the global coronavirus pandemic, overseen its ambitious new stadium development plans, restructured the leadership of Everton Women, led a move to new Club headquarters inside Liverpool’s iconic Royal Liver Building, and been appointed to an Advisory Panel, chaired by Tracey Crouch MP, that has provided expert advice to the Government’s fan-led review of football governance.
Having initially joined Everton in January 2010, Denise’s first role at the Club saw her transform Everton in the Community into what is now globally-recognised as a leader among football club community projects, delivering more than 40 programmes for all ages and tackling a range of social issues from mental health, disability and dementia, to education, employability and homelessness.
Awarded an MBE from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for ‘services to the Merseyside community’ in 2014, Denise continues to demonstrate her leadership in this area. In March 2020, Everton and Everton in the Community became the first football club to launch a coordinated outreach and engagement campaign, Blue Family, to support the most vulnerable, socially-isolated and at-risk members of the community in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. By the end of its first year, the initiative had supported 32,000 vulnerable people and provided more than 265,000 meals to schoolchildren, participants and people in need across Liverpool.
Away from Everton, Denise is a Deputy Lieutenant for the county of Merseyside, Chair of the Transport Commission aiming to bring a new high-speed rail station to Liverpool, and a member of the Sport for Humanity Faith and Sport Leaders Council, a working advisory committee which supports the work of the international Sport for Humanity Foundation. She is also a member of a national steering group, the C-19 Business Pledge – a role that saw her provide guidance to business owners during the COVID-19 crisis.
Recognition for her contribution to Everton, football and the community has led to Denise receiving a Fellowship from Liverpool Hope University’s Business School and an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University. She is also a patron of Liverpool’s St Vincent’s School for the Blind and a fellow of Angela Hall at Liverpool Hope University.
Previously, Denise served as a Board member for Sport England and Deputy Chair to the Liverpool Commonwealth Games Advisory Board, acted as a Non-Executive Director and Vice Chairperson of British Canoeing, and chaired Liverpool’s successful bid to host the Special Olympics Great Britain National Summer Games 2021.