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British Cycling appoints ‘people director’ in wake of bullying and discrimination allegations

Slamming the stable door shut after the horse has bolted?

British Cycling has appointed former Sony and Maersk Line executive Michael Chivers as its first ‘people director’ in the wake of the independent review into allegations of bullying and discrimination at the governing body.

Some may see the move as slamming the stable door shut long after the horse has bolted, but the governing body says it is in line with its response to the findings of the independent review.

A draft copy of the report was delivered to the national governing body for cycling in December, and it has since published a 39-point action plan agreed with UK Sport, the governmental agency that provides its elite funding and which ordered the review.

 According to British Cycling, the new appointment ties in with its “efforts to refresh and strengthen its leadership,” as part of an overhaul of its management team.

Jonathan Browning, who stepped up from a non-executive directorship role to become the organisation’s new chairman, said: “Michael Chivers’ experience and expertise in change and people management will be invaluable in pushing ahead British Cycling’s plans to ensure the organisation is effective and accountable in its management of athletes and staff so that it fosters a transparent and inclusive culture, following past failings in this area.”

Chivers, who has already taken up his position, said: “There is no doubt that British Cycling’s major success story in terms of both elite glory and participation has been down to the exceptional work of its people.

“But for too long we’ve been a purely results driven organisation and it is clear that this has sometimes been at the expense of ensuring that our athletes and staff are looked after, with due care and proper processes followed.

“As part of the wide-scale professionalisation of our policies and procedures, we need to ensure that we have an engaged and motivated workforce and that our athletes are given the best experience from the moment they step on to one of our pathways right through to the time when they leave us.

“There are only six roles on the executive leadership team at British Cycling and the fact that one of them is solely dedicated to athlete and staff welfare and performance is a sign of how seriously the organisation is taking this. I feel privileged to be able to dedicate myself to making sure that we absolutely get this right.”

Other recent appointments at the top level of British Cycling include CEO Julie Harrington and performance director, Stephen Park, previously with British Sailing.  

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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