Steven Esom has been appointed Chairman of the British Amateur Boxing Association (BABA), which runs the World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) for Olympic boxing.
Esom, 52, will Chair the 12-person Board of the BABA and be responsible for the governance and overall leadership of the organisation.
He will oversee the Chief Executive, Matthew Holt, who is responsible for the day-to-day leadership of the organisation, and be responsible for the direction and development of the BABA’s Board and relationships with key stakeholders.
A former Executive Director of Food at Marks & Spencer and Managing Director of Waitrose, Esom is currently the Chairman of both the Ice Organisation and BRC Trading Ltd, the commercial arm of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), and a non-Executive Director of Cranswick PLC.
He was appointed following an open recruitment process led by UK Sport, the organisation which funds elite sport in Great Britain, and a panel interview with three members of the BABA’s Board. The position is unpaid and the appointment is for four years with the option to serve a second term.
Steven Esom said: “I am delighted to join the BABA at such an exciting time as we prepare for the 2016 campaign in Rio. I have been impressed with the team at the BABA, their professionalism and dedication focused upon the talented boxers we recruit into the World Class Performance Programme. The BABA has set ambitious goals and is determined to build on the London 2012 achievements. I look forward to working with Matt Holt and Rob McCracken to achieve these along with the home nation Amateur Boxing Associations who are instrumental to our success. I am keen to start working with the Board and our wider stakeholders to build upon the BABA’s successes and ensure it continues to ensure the interests of the boxers are at its heart.”
The Board of the BABA unanimously approved the appointment. A statement by the Board said: “Steven was the outstanding candidate of an excellent field and we are sure that he will bring a wide range of qualities that will help the BABA and the World Class Performance Programme for boxing to go from strength-to-strength.
“The fact that we have been able to attract such a high calibre individual is a sign of the success that the Olympic boxing programme has delivered in recent years and the Board and everyone within the organisation looks forward to working with Steven in trying to build on these achievements in the new Olympic cycle.”
Richard Thomas, interim chair of the BABA prior to Steven Esom’s appointment, said: “I firmly believe that Steven’s approach will be one that will suit a unique organisation like the BABA. I believe he will quickly establish himself within the organisation and build consensus amongst the board and our stakeholders. This will be key to building on the fantastic success of London 2012.”
Liz Nicholl, Chief Executive of UK Sport, added: “The Chairmanship of BABA is a crucial appointment for the future of British Boxing, and we are delighted that someone of Steven’s calibre and experience is so willing and able to take on this important leadership role.
“We look forward to working with Steven, the team at BABA and the home country boxing associations to ensure strong governance of the sport and to support boxers from Great Britain on their road to further medal success in Rio and beyond.”
Since the BABA was established in October 2008 male and female boxers from Great Britain have enjoyed an unprecedented period of success winning 31 medals in 10 major competitions. The team finished top of the boxing medal table at London 2012 where it delivered Great Britain’s best performance for more than 100 years securing three golds, one silver and a bronze.
Six of the ten boxers that competed in London remain part of the GB Boxing squad, including Olympic gold medallist, Nicola Adams, silver medallist, Fred Evans, two-time European Champion, Andrew Selby and reigning world champion, Savannah Marshall.
Esom was educated at the University of Wales. He has more than 30 years business experience in retail and began his career at Sainsbury’s where he worked in a variety of commercial roles, including a period with its US subsidiary, Shaws, based in Boston.
He has also worked at Ladbrokes and spent 12 years with John Lewis Partnership where he was the Managing Director of Waitrose and successfully expanded the business to become a leading national fresh food retailer.
He was also the Executive Director with responsibility for Food at Marks & Spencer and most recently spent four years as an Operating Partner at Langholm Capital, a consumer focused Private Equity Fund, investing in emerging brands in fast growing markets.