Annamarie Phelps, vice-chair of the British Olympic Committee and a former Olympic rower, has been appointed as the new chair of the British Horseracing Authority.
Phelps will take up the post on June 1 and while it will be her first role in racing, she has worked for a variety of governing bodies dealing with complex political and regulatory issues and was the chair of British Rowing until last year. She also chaired the independent review into British Cycling in 2017.
She also competed for Britain at the Atlanta Games in 1996 in the women’s eight and was a world champion in 1993 before being awarded a CBE for services to rowing in 2016.
Phelps said: “I relish the opportunity to work in British racing. Everything I’ve seen and heard tells me that racing people are passionate about their sport, proud of its magnificent heritage and unified by a love of horses.
“I am looking forward to working with new colleagues at the BHA and across the sport. My priority is to help with the immediate challenges we face, but I am excited by the opportunities for racing to grow and flourish in the years ahead.
“I believe that collaboration is the key to success and am privileged to be given a chance to play my part.”
Phelps was a unanimous selection by the BHA’s nominations committee, which includes representatives nominated by racecourses and horsemen. Her appointment was approved by the BHA’s shareholders and the board.
The chair of the nominations committee and the BHA’s senior independent director, Andrew Merriam, added: “I’m delighted that we are able to appoint a candidate of such high calibre.
“Annamarie has demonstrated impressive leadership skills and an astute grasp of the issues facing major sports, including their engagement with government. She will bring a challenging and independent perspective to the BHA’s work and be a powerful advocate for horseracing.”
Atholl Duncan will continue as BHA chairman until Phelps takes up the post.