The Football Association (FA) has named Debbie Hewitt MBE as its designated chairwoman, who becomes the first female leader of English football professional body in its 157-year history.
Hewitt, who will take leadership next January, was branded as the ‘unanimous choice’ by the seven-member selection panel. The business executive will succeed the interim FA Chair, Peter McCormick OBE, with the panel lauding Hewitt’s ‘outstanding Chair and governance expertise, as well as the proven leadership qualities and character required for the role’.
“I’m delighted to be nominated for the role of Non-Executive Chair of The Football Association,” she said.
“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.”
Earlier in the year, it was reported that Hewitt had emerged as the frontrunner for the position, with the FA looking to break tradition.
“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 an extensive non-executive career spanning over 15 years across many different sectors, currently holding the position of non-executive Chair of Visa Europe, The Restaurant Group plc, BGL Group and White Stuff.
She previously served in non-executive Chair roles at Moss Bros plc, Evander Group, HR Owen plc and the HPI Group.
She was also awarded an MBE in 2011 for services to business and the public sector.
“This is an excellent appointment for the FA and English football in general,” recognised Kate Tinsley, Independent Non-Executive FA Director and Chair of the selection panel.
“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.”