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John Dowson named new Chair of the English Institute of Sport

04 May 2021

UK Sport has appointed John Dowson as the new Chair of the English Institute of Sport (EIS). The former Boccia UK leader is set to take up his new role from 1 July, at which point he’ll step down from his current position as the Senior Independent Director on the UK Sport Board.

Established in 2002 to support high-performance sport in the UK, the EIS is the world’s leading provider of sports science, medicine, technology and innovation. The EIS worked with 93% of athletes and 31 of the 34 sports that won a medal for Team GB and ParalympicsGB at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Dowson chaired Boccia UK from 2014 to 2019 and in 2018 chaired the multi-stakeholder local organising committee for the Boccia World Championships, which were held at the Liverpool ACC and involved 186 athletes from 33 countries. He has also served as a UK Sport Board member for the past six years.

His professional background is as a chartered management accountant having spent time during his career at Coopers & Lybrand, IBM and PwC. During his career he has held UK, European and global leadership roles and worked in over 25 countries. His last role at PwC was as UK industry leader for the whole private sector (excluding financial services) before retiring from the firm in 2012.

Dowson, who will take the reins from Interim Chair Sir David Tanner, said: “I’m delighted to be taking on the Chair role at the EIS, which provides such vital services to high-performance sport. My own respect for the EIS was firmly established when I chaired a Paralympic sport NGB and saw at first hand the tremendous quality and dedication of the EIS staff.

“I’m really looking forward to working with the board, National Director and all in the EIS, in collaboration with its partners, to further develop its hard-won world-class position.”

UK Sport Chair Dame Katherine Grainger said: “I am absolutely delighted for John, and for the EIS, about this appointment. It was a very competitive process that reflects incredibly well on the calibre of candidates and also just how highly the EIS is regarded. The EIS is a crucial part of the success of UK high performance sport and I have no doubt that under John’s leadership the organisation will continue to flourish as we move forward.

“While John will be an immense loss for UK Sport when he steps into his new role in July, I am thrilled that the wider high-performance sporting community will continue to benefit from his experience.  His wonderful blend of curiosity, wisdom, humour and attention to detail will be a huge asset to the EIS.

“I’d also like to express my sincere thanks to Sir David Tanner who has been Chairing the EIS on an interim basis, doing an excellent job at such a critical time for Olympic and Paralympic sport.”

EIS National Director Nigel Walker OBE added: “I’m thoroughly looking forward to working more closely with John as we navigate the significant final few months before the Tokyo Games and look ahead to Beijing and Paris.

“At the EIS, we put people at the heart of extraordinary performance and I know John’s extensive experience will help us continue to deliver outstanding support that will enable our sports and athletes to excel.

“I would also like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Sir David Tanner, who has done a tremendous job of leading us since the start of the year.”

Dowson succeeds former EIS chair John Steele, who stepped down from the role in 2020, following seven years in post, and takes over from Interim Chair, Sir David Tanner.