Debbie Hewitt MBE has been named as the Football Association’s (FA) designated chairwoman, making her the first woman to manage the English football professional organisation in its 157-year history.
The seven-member selection panel dubbed Hewitt, who will take over as president in January, the ‘unanimous choice.’ The panel praised Hewitt’s “outstanding Chair and governance expertise, as well as the proven leadership characteristics and character required for the role.” Hewitt will succeed interim FA Chair Peter McCormick OBE.
Long-term health of football
Of her appointment she said: “I’m delighted to be nominated for the role of Non-Executive Chair of The Football Association.
“As the events in recent months have shown, this is a significant moment in time for English football, with a clear purpose for all stakeholders to secure the long-term health of the game at all levels.
“I’ve been passionate about football from a very young age and I’m excited by the opportunity to play my part in shaping the future of something that means so much to so many.
“I’m looking forward to working alongside our CEO Mark Bullingham and the team across Wembley Stadium and St. George’s Park, and relish the opportunity to Chair an organisation that has the potential to be a very positive force for good throughout the game and across society.”
Hewitt was rumoured to be the favourite for the role earlier this year, with the FA eager to change precedent.
Experience across many different areas of business
“We’re delighted to nominate Debbie as our new Chair,” McCormick added. “Her experience across many different areas of business and general approach will allow her to work collaboratively across the game, while providing her own insight, experience and judgement on the issues that matter most. I very much look forward to working with her.”
Hewitt has a 15-year non-executive career spanning a variety of industries, and she is currently the non-executive Chair of Visa Europe, The Restaurant Group plc, BGL Group, and White Stuff.
She previously worked with Moss Bros plc, Evander Group, HR Owen plc, and the HPI Group as a non-executive chairperson.
In 2011, she received an MBE for services to business and the public sector.
Kate Tinsley, Chair of the Selection Panel and Independent Non-Executive FA Director added: “This is an excellent appointment for the FA and English football in general.
“Debbie was the outstanding candidate from a talented and experienced field. She immediately demonstrated her passion and ability to positively influence the direction of the FA on a domestic and global stage, providing strong and principled leadership along the way.”