Non Executive Director of Football at The London Football Association
Vivienne has over 20 years of experience working across public, not-for-profit and commercial sectors working at a senior level as a Management Consultant/Business Advisor, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist. She wears many hats incuding Director/Advisor to the CEO of the Global Sport Digital Platform for Futsal called E-Sports Inc Ltd, Chair of the Footballer’s Anti-Discrimination Disciplinary Panel for the FA, Sport Resolutions’ Panel Member of Arbitration and Mediation and Non-Executive Director of Football at the London FA portfolio includes Chairing Women and Girls Advisory Group and the Inclusion Advisory Group. Also an Advisor (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and Senior Leadership team. A mentor for young people and women in leadership, a public speaker, judge for events and experience of sitting on numerous committees.
Chief Executive, Crystal Palace FC
Phil is one of the longest serving and highly respected CEO’s in the game having served 24 years at Crystal Palace FC. Phil is also a member of the FA Council, representing the Premier League and sits on the FA’s Professional Game Board.
In his past he played professional football for Norwich City and was the placekicker for the London Monarchs American Football team, winning the World Bowl at Wembley in 1991.
Chief Executive & Deputy Chairman, Brighton & Hove Albion FC
Paul Barber joined the board of Brighton & Hove Albion FC as Chief Executive in June 2012.
Previously, Paul became the first British football executive to lead a team in to Major League Soccer when Vancouver Whitecaps FC entered the league in March 2011. He joined the Vancouver Whitecaps from Tottenham Hotspur FC, where he was the Club’s Executive Director for 5 years.
In addition to 25 years working in professional football, Paul has held senior positions in major international companies such as Barclays Bank PLC, where he was a member of the retail board, Ogilvy & Mather, the US-based advertising and communications group, where he was Chief Executive for Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Abbey National PLC, now part of Santander, the Spanish banking group.
Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale
CEO & Director, Everton FC
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.
Chief Executive, League Managers Association
Richard was appointed Chief Executive of the League Managers Association in January 2008. Richard is a prominent character in the world of sport and business with a strong track record of devising and achieving strategic visions, implementing long-term business plans and growing sports organisations nationally and internationally across different cultures.
He joined the Professional Cricketers’ Association in 1996 & became Chief Executive in 2001 to 2007, developing the profile and business of the organisation to becoming a major player in world of cricket. Richard was also a founding Director of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations.
Richard has been a Trustee of the Team England Player Partnership since 2002 which provides contractual, financial, commercial representation to all England Cricket players. He also represents the LMA as a member of the Professional Players’ Federation, the umbrella body for all players’ associations.
Richard was also appointed Chairman of The board of The Caribbean Premier Cricket League (CPL) in November 2013. Within two years the CPL has been confirmed as the number one sports event in the Caribbean, second only to the IPL in International T20 Cricket. CPL has an economic impact in the Caribbean of US167m.
CEO, Coventry City FC
Dave has spent most of his working life in professional sport and is currently Chief Executive of Coventry City FC, who he joined in February 2017. At the Sky Blues he has played his part in the “Mark Robins revolution”, resulting in two wins at Wembley and a double promotion from League Two to the Championship.
Prior to that he held the same position at Newport County AFC, where another Wembley win saw them promoted to the EFL. He masterminded the Club’s off the field transition from a Non-League Club to a Football League Club, and established their first Community scheme which has gone from strength to strength.
He spent 10 years as a Director, and Chairman of his home town Club, Worcester City in the Football Conference (now the National League) and during that period he was also a Director of the Football Conference for 5 years and served on the F.A. Alliance committee. After leaving the Board at Worcester City, he then worked for the Football Conference for 3 years.
In the early part of Dave’s career he established and ran his own successful business. Sportslines was a Premium Rate Telephone Information company that provided services and content for many sports Clubs, Leagues and Associations. He eventually sold the business to the market leaders ClubCall, who at the time were owned by Scottish Power, and then worked for ClubCall in various roles including heading the brand.
Professor Sue Bridgewater
Director of the Centre for Sports Business, Liverpool University
Professor Sue Bridgewater PhD is Director of the Centre for Sports Business at University of Liverpool Management. After an early career in marketing with Forbo and Unilever, Sue has had a lengthy career in Higher Education working for Warwick Business School and University of Liverpool Management School as a Professor of Marketing. She has published a number of papers in international journals in the areas of marketing, international business and football management. Sue has also authored and co-authored books including Football Brands, Football Management, International Marketing Relationships and Innovation in Marketing. In her capacity as Director of Executive Education, Sue has worked with blue chip clients including Ford, Nestle, Philips, IBM, KPMG, HSBC. In football, she has worked with a range of clubs, leagues and governing bodies nationally and internationally, most recently with the League Managers Association and UEFA.
Alongside her academic roles, Sue has a number of involvements with football practice. She is on the Board of Women in Football. She directs the LMA Diploma in Football Management, is on UEFA’s Research Jury and has recently authored a module for UEFA’s Certificate in Football Management on Women’s Football.
Director, Portsmouth FC
Mark Catlin assisted fans in the saving of Portsmouth FC whilst in administration during 2012, and following the acquisition of PFC by supporters in 2013, he stayed on to become CEO of the country’s largest Trust owned football club. The clearing of over £7m of debt and four years continuous annual profits followed, along with promotion as Champions from L2. He was then a key figure in the takeover of the club during the summer of 2017 by former Disney Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner’s Tornante group.
Mark has many year’s experience of building his own successful private businesses, currently owning Spain’s largest independent telecommunications Company and in 2021 moved from PFC to take over as GM of International Sports & Entertainment at Michael Eisner’s Topps company. He remains as a Director of PFC.
He is also a previous FC Business overall CEO of the year award winner.
Cliff Crown FCA
Chairman, Brentford FC
Cliff Crown FCA has been Chairman of Brentford for the past 8 and a half years and on the Football Club’s Board of Directors for 9 and a half years. He has completed his three-year term on the EFL Board as one of 3 representatives from the Championship. He is a member of the FA Council as one of the Premier League Representatives. Cliff has also been a Director of Danish Superliga side FC Midtjylland since 2014 and will shortly take over as interim Chairman with effect from 1 January 2022.
Cliff is a chartered accountant with more than 35 years’ experience in advising commercial owner managed businesses. He acts as Chief Financial Officer and business adviser to a number of companies in which Brentford FC owner Matthew Benham has a financial interest. Cliff is also a long-standing football fan and is seen at most Brentford games up and down the country as well as many others.
Executive Director, Tottenham Hotspur
Donna is an Executive Director of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and Director of Tottenham Hotspur Women Football Club. She has spent over 30 years in business management. She is also a Trustee of the Club’s charitable organisation, the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation.
Donna was previously with Lord Bell’s group of companies, Chime plc and was Deputy MD of Good Relations. She specialised in the field of corporate and financial communications and marketing, having also worked in public affairs. Early major campaigns included the privatization of BP, Thames Water and AEA Technology. She advised the Club over a period of 14 years prior to joining the Board in 2006, Donna currently oversees the Club’s Planning Consultations, Communications, Content and Marketing departments.
She graduated from the University of Cape Town in 1984 with a double Masters in Politics and English.
CEO, Leyton Orient
With over 20 years in professional football, Mark is one of the most experienced and long standing CEO’s in English Football, having been CEO at Swindon Town, QPR, Brentford and Huddersfield Town AFC .
From 2011-2018, Mark oversaw the rise of Brentford from a mid-table League One club, to a financially stable, Championship club challenging at the top of the League. Mark was also involved in the development and planning for the new Brentford Community Stadium which opened earlier this year.
Devlin enjoyed a spell in The Republic of Ireland, with the Champions, Dundalk, in 2019. During his time, Dundalk not only retained their title, but also included experience of both the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, before returning to England to take on the CEO role at Huddersfield Town in January 2020.
Mark was also a member of the EFL Commercial Committee between 2014-2018 as one of three Championship representatives.
Chief Executive, Scottish Professional Football League
Neil Doncaster has been involved in football for the last 25 years. He joined Norwich City in 1997 as Company Secretary and, four years later at the age of 31, became their Chief Executive. In his twelve years at City, the Club re-built its reputation with supporters, with season ticket numbers trebling over the period to 20,000 and the Club receiving a number of awards for community, business development and innovation.
While with Norwich, Neil was elected to the Board of the English Football League and subsequently to that of the Football Association. Neil joined the Scottish Premier League in 2009 and, following the merger of the Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League in 2013, Neil became the first Chief Executive of the Scottish Professional Football League (“SPFL”). Neil is the only person ever to have sat on the Boards of both The FA and The Scottish FA.
The SPFL recently announced new long-term and enhanced live broadcast rights contracts with Sky Sports and Premier Sports, as well as sponsorship deals with cinch, Loch Lomond Group, Papa John’s and Lottomart. Despite the disruption caused by Covid-19, the SPFL announced record fee payments to the SPFL’s 42 member clubs in 2021.
CEO, Bristol Rovers FC
Tom has worked within the professional game for over a decade. He started at Portsmouth FC as an intern, working in every department before settling in the marketing department in a full-time role.
During his time at the club he experienced two relegations, two administrations and an FA Cup Final. The highlight of his time at the club was receiving the Family Club of the Year award in 2012. This achievement marked a stark change from the clubs failure to achieve the Football League’s family Excellence standard just a year earlier.
From Portsmouth, Tom moved to Cardiff and in the first year, he oversaw increased matchday hospitality revenue by over 200% from the previous season as well as leading us to the 2013 Family Club of the year Award.
He then moved to Brighton & Hove Albion as Head of Marketing where he was responsible for our sales strategies for all club commercial channels including ticketing, commercial, retail and non-matchday events. Tom worked at the club during their promotion to the Premier League and was responsible for overseeing their sales and marketing strategy on their multi-million pound five year hospitality renewal project.
In 2015, he received the Rising Star Award at the Stadium Business Awards in Barcelona and in 2016 he was part of the inaugural Sports Industry Next Gen programme.
Tom has recently been promoted to the post of Chief Executive Officer at Bristol Rovers Football Club becoming one of the youngest CEO’s in professional football.
CEO, Bolton Wanderers FC
Neil Hart is a vastly experienced football administrator and innovator, having successfully filled high-profile roles on both the football and community sides of the industry with clubs in the Premier League and EFL.
A native of Lancashire, Neil assisted in spearheading the highly-respected community programme at Watford Football Club for eight years before returning to the North-West to join Burnley in 2013 as Community CEO.
At Turf Moor, Neil established Burnley FC in the Community as a high-impact charitable organisation which grew to employ over 100 staff and deliver multi-million-pound funding into creating and delivering vitally needed community facilities and projects.
Burnley FC in the Community engaged with over 33,000 individuals in and around the town as one of the most effective community programmes in the country.
Neil’s success with the charitable arm of Burnley Football Club led to him taking over as Chief Executive Officer at Turf Moor in March, 2019.
As one of the youngest CEO’s in the Premier League at just 38, Neil led the Clarets through the challenges of the COVID pandemic to maintain their top-flight status and supported with the takeover of Burnley FC in early 2021.
Following the arrival of new ownership at Burnley, Neil then moved to Bolton Wanderers as CEO in July, 2021 and has since played a leading role in supporting the club in driving up revenues, ticket sales, increasing fan engagement and working closely with the Board and First Team Manager in rebuilding the club both on and off the pitch.
CEO, Stevenage Football Club.
Dominic has over three decades of experience in senior management, working within diverse, dynamic, challenging environments within the sports, events, leisure, entertainment, hospitality, food & beverage and retail sectors, with a proven track record in successfully delivering outstanding service, operations and increased returns.
Previously being the hands-on Operations Director/ Managing Director at Crystal Palace Football Club from 2000-2010, where he was accountable for the strategic planning and coordination of the UK & USA business operations with full responsibility for commercial development, operations, p&l, and personnel, with annual revenues of circa £25Million in the Championship league and in excess of £100million in the English Premier League.
He then went onto create JSP sports business consultancy in 2011 to provide best in class commercial and operational solutions globally for stake holders and major brands within professional sports and the events industries to increase profits, reduce their cost and enhance customer experiences.
Dominic was also the CEO and co-founder of Bizpedia Partnerships Group Ltd. An exclusive high end business club aimed at business owners connecting and creating trusted environments where impartial advice and pioneering alternative methods, created opportunities & delivered measurable improved performance and outcomes to both members businesses & their personal growth.
Prior to these roles Dominic was Operations Director at the Pocket Phone Shop managing the growth of the telecoms business, in the mobile boom of the mid 90’s. Culminating in the business being successfully sold to T-Mobile in the summer of 2000 for circa £75Million.
Before that Dominic was an award-winning Construction Director for a household national builder, working on their most prestigious projects across London.
Over the years Dominic has been involved in multiple investments and ventures, from emerging tech, renewables, film production to property, as well as being a serial seed investor in emerging areas such as Lithium, AI, renewables, mobile payments, biotech and plant-based food & beverage.
CEO, Hibernian FC
Ben Kensell joined Hibernian FC in the summer of 2021 as Chief Executive. He is one of the most highly regarded leaders in football, who spent three years as Chief Operating Officer at Norwich City before joining the Hibees.
The Englishman shares a vision with Hibs owner Ron Gordon – to take Hibs to the next level both on and off the field at Easter Road. Kensell is eager to make Hibernian FC an industry leader in Scotland and has a strong plan to take the Football Club to the next level.
Before joining the Hibees, Ben helped successfully guide the Canaries to promotion to the Premier League and oversaw a significant growth in turnover and commercial income during his three years as COO. Working in football for over 16 years, Ben enjoyed spells at Charlton, Arsenal and Norwich and has previously worked across a multitude of different sporting events including Wimbledon, the British Grand Prix and Royal Ascot.
COO, Birmingham City FC
Lungi has worked in professional football for just under a decade, leading several operational departments. Forming part of a senior management team that supports the board of directors, she is efficient in planning, organising, and working collaboratively to influence, design and deliver initiatives, essential to the accomplishment of the business.
She is currently the Chief Operating Officer at Birmingham City Football Club, having spent several years at Charlton Athletic. Her responsibilities vary from looking after the women’s team to safety operations across company sites.
She is a Director with Women in Football, having joined the board in May 2018 and has been an integral member in moving the organisation into its next phase of growth, influencing the industry at a truly revolutionary time.
In October 2018, she was named as a NextGen Leader for 2019 – one of 30 rising professionals from across the UK sports industry.
Lungi is especially interested in developing people and believes in the balance of diversity and representation at all levels of football.
Chief Executive, Fulham FC
Alistair Mackintosh joined Fulham Football Club as Chief Executive in the summer of 2008. He was previously Chief Executive at Manchester City Football Club and over a ten year period saw the Club travel from the Second Division back to the Premier League and from its Maine Road home to the City of Manchester Stadium.
Having trained as a Chartered Accountant with PWC, Alistair spent a number of years working for Sony before entering the football business. He has also held Board positions at a radio station, a museum, a leisure centre group and a charity.
CEO, Blackpool FC
Ben Mansford was appointed CEO and a Director of Blackpool Football Club in November 2019.
A graduate in Law, Ben is a qualified solicitor who specialised in sport, prior to becoming a Vice President at global sports management and media group Wasserman for many years.
He was appointed Chief Executive of Barnsley in 2013 and spent three years in the role at Oakwell, with the club achieving promotion to the Championship and a Football League Trophy success in his final season. Ben’s switch to Leeds United in 2016 then resulted in him playing a major role in the Whites’ resurgence.
In June 2017, he became CEO of Maccabi Tel Aviv, with the Israeli giants winning the championship in record-breaking fashion during his time there, as well as qualifying for the group stages of the Europa League.
Head of Events, Manchester City FC
Venue Director, Arsenal FC
Paul Monekosso Cleal OBE
Equality Advisor to the Board of the Premier League
As Equality Advisor to the Board of the FA Premier League, Paul led the development and implementation of the No Room for Racism Action Plan. He is also a member of the panel which assesses the progress of Clubs against the requirements of the Premier League Equality Standard. Prior to that he was a partner at PwC, the global professional services firm, where he served on the Management Boards of the firm in both the UK and in Africa and provided corporate finance advice on a wide range of projects including the financing of stadiums at Arsenal, Wembley and Ascot Racecourse.
Outside football he is a Non-Executive Board Member at Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Metropolitan Police. He has for many years been involved in diversity and inclusion in business and was awarded the OBE for his work in that area in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List.
Managing Director, Rangers FC
Stewart qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst and Young before moving to PricewaterhouseCoopers where he spent eight years in the corporate finance team.
He then became a partner in a private investment firm where he served as a non-executive director on the boards of several companies in various industries, including 12 years as a director of Motherwell Football Club.
He joined Rangers in 2015, overseeing the recovery of the club and its return to financial sustainability and on-field success. He has served on the Board of the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) on several occasions since 2003 and has previously been a member of the SFA’s Professional Game Board.
Chief Executive, Wrexham
Wrexham AFC CEO Fleur Robinson is an accomplished commercial leader with a huge passion for putting football at the heart of the community and making a positive difference to people’s lives.
Fleur joined Wrexham in June as the Club’s new high-profile co-chairmen, Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds, sought an experienced footballing person to help deliver an ambitious mission statement, growing the Football Club in tandem with their targets for success on the pitch. Previously, Fleur spent more than 25 years at Burton Albion – holding the position of Commercial Director as the Brewers’ rose up through the Football League and spent two years playing in the EFL Championship.
A major highlight of Fleur’s career was becoming a founding Trustee of the award winning Burton Albion Community Trust, a thriving community involvement programme which inspires, engages and educates local people and welcomes 8000 participants a week. She is also proud that the club was awarded for three consecutive years, the Family Excellence Award which recognises “the extraordinary quality of the family experience”. During her time with Burton, she also led the huge transformation of the commercial side of the business. This included the launch of the club’s corporate hospitality and conference facilities, initiatives to increase match day attendance and sponsorship opportunities to bring increased funds into the club.
Fleur is currently elected to the 120-member FA Council and, having been involved in football since the early 1990s, has seen a great deal of diversification over the years. Fleur is an Ambassador for BTEC and supports education particularly the transition for further education through her own development ‘Inspiring Your Future’ workshops. In December Fleur received the Football Black List award for Administration for the second time.
CEO, Lincoln City FC
Liam has more than 20 years of experience working in football and communities, having started his career via an apprenticeship and working his way up to become chief executive of Lincoln City.
He is responsible for the day to day running of the Imps on behalf of the fans, directors and investors, including heading up a seven-man senior management team, and more than 150 employees. He joined Lincoln City in the summer of 2017 as they returned to the EFL, helping guide the club to a further promotion to League One where they reached the 2020-21 play-off final.
Prior to joining Lincoln, Liam spent 16 years in various roles at Doncaster Rovers and the wider Club Doncaster group – starting as an apprentice funded by the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) and graduating to a spell as Foundation chief executive then chief operating officer of Club Doncaster.
That rise through the ranks culminated in Liam being inducted into the National Apprenticeship Hall of Fame in 2007. The Hall of Fame recognises outstanding achievement in enterprise and business from those who started off their working life through an apprenticeship scheme.
Liam also holds voluntary offices including chair of the English Football League Trust (EFLT), director of Lincolnshire County FA, trustee of Lincoln City Foundation, along with ambassador roles at the Asian Sports Foundation and XP Free School Trust. He has underpinned his public and private sector service with high-quality education and training: with a postgraduate certificate in strategic leadership (University of Chester), Diploma in Leadership and Management (ILM), along with being a graduate of the Kennedy Senior Leaders training programme
Liam is married to Jenna, who also has a distinguished career within sport and education. They have two children, Arthur and Jonah. His interests include football, golf, motorsport and spending time with his family.
Chair & Co-Owner, Port Vale FC
Starting her working life at the tender age of 17 as a main-frame computer operator for Hoskyns Systems, Carol moved on to CMC, installing and supporting data prep and distributed data processing systems. It was here that she met future husband Kevin when she was teamed with him on the British Leyland account. She’s been juggling a career in the IT industry with family-life ever since.
Carol’s firmly-held belief that companies have an obligation to give equal importance to nurturing their relationships with customers and staff, as to generating profit, has been at the heart of Synectics Solutions’ ethos since its inception. This is a subject that she’ll speak passionately about with little prompting.
In May of 2019 Carol took the reins as Chair of Port Vale FC, following her family’s acquisition of the League Two club. Carol has been the driving force behind the Vale’s resurgence on and off the field and helped to build the club’s reputation with its supporters and nationally within the industry.
When the first Covid-19 pandemic lockdown occurred in March 2020, football was suspended and Port Vale was no longer able to offer events or hospitality. At this point Carol oversaw the creation of the Port Vale Community Hub which brought together club staff, the Hubb Foundation, Synectics Solutions, Summit Hospitality, the Port Vale Foundation, volunteers and local businesses. To date it has delivered more than 170,000 meals to families in need across Stoke-on-Trent.
Carol is the co-Chair of the Stoke-on-Trent Opportunity Area Board which brings together senior leaders from schools, communities, business, and central and local government. They bring their experience, insight and ambition to Stoke-on-Trent and its young people. She also sits as a critical friend on the Stoke-on-Trent Children’s Services Improvement Board.
In the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2020 Carol, aged 62, was awarded an OBE for services to the communities of Stoke-on-Trent.
CEO, Forest Green Rovers
Joining Forest Green Rovers in 2018 as the youngest CEO in English football, Henry has overseen a vast range of innovation projects and growth success in the last three years at the ‘world’s greenest football club’. Notable news during this time include investment from the likes of Hector Bellerin, tripling sponsorship revenue and quadrupling retail income. This culminated in winning League Two CEO of the Year at last year’s awards.
Henry’s background before football was anything but traditional – leaving school at 16, hiring an office above a skip yard, before growing and selling two businesses. He also invests in property. He is a commercially-biased business leader, who operates a culture of Autonomous Accountability.