New BSUK Chair appointed

Wed 12 Oct 2011

At the BSUK Ltd AGM in November 2010, Geof Ellingham formally announced that he would step down at the 2011 AGM as BSUK Chair after five years in the role.

Over the course of this year, the BSUK Board set about the process of appointing a new Chair. There were two strong candidates for the position, but following interviews, the BSUK Board appointed John Walmsley to the role. He will formally take up the post from November 2011.

Sporting background

John Walmsley's involvement in our sports started in 2004 when he joined baseball spring training with Richmond Baseball and Softball Club. In his first season, John helped launch and manage the club's fourth adult baseball team, the Richmond Riverdogs. In 2005, John took over as interim Club President, and became the President the following year. In 2007, John was elected to the Board of the BBF and was asked to serve as its Secretary. John also served as a BBF-nominated Director of BSUK. In 2008, John was re-elected to the BBF Board under a redrawn Constitution.

As BBF Secretary, John represented Great Britain at both IBAF and CEB Congresses. He resigned from both the BBF and BSUK Boards in 2009, having served two-and-a-half years on each. John also resigned from his role as Richmond Baseball and Softball Club President at the end of the 2010 season.

In his five seasons as Richmond President, the club won two National Baseball Championships and were finalists in two more, won two London Tournaments and other divisional titles, launched a youth baseball and softball programme, and brought women's fastpitch softball into the club. John still remains involved with the club.

John is 42 and he and his partner Robyn split their time between Surrey and Lancashire. John is an executive with a global consulting and technology company, where he focuses on the commercial management of large-scale engagements.

Impressive skills

The interviewing committee members were highly impressed with the skills that John Walmsley would be bringing to the role, and felt that his previous experience on the Board would be invaluable. The appointment was then made by the BBF and BSF, as the two members of BSUK. 

"John Walmsley is a fantastic choice for BSUK Chair and I am certain he will do a great job," said BBF President Mark Salter. "John is able to communicate well and has clear ideas and is receptive and open to the opinions and ideas of others.

"His background both in sport and in business will stand him in good stead for doing the job and for communicating across our two sports and engaging all stakeholders," Mark added. "I wish John well and look forward immensely to working with him during his tenure. "

BSF President Stella Ackrell echoed this view and said, "John was a committed and valuable Director for BSUK previously and I think will do an excellent job as Chair."

Since accepting the role, with confirmation due in November, John has fully engaged himself in the work of the Board,  attending Board and Committee meetings and serving as one of the members of BSUK's 2013-17 Whole Sport Plan Working Group.

Many achievements

Geof Ellingham has served as BSUK Chair since January 2007. During his tenure, Geof has led BSUK from unincorporated status to a company limited by guarantee and through two funding cycles from Sport England that have seen BSUK go from strength to strength. Geof has worked wholly in a voluntary unpaid capacity over the past five years to instil strong governance and management disciplines within BSUK, ensuring that the goals of the organisation are well-defined.

Geof initially created a solid management structure for BSUK, engaged the two NGBs to step up and provide better governance, and led the recruitment to fill five independent Board Director positions. He created committee structures around finance, governance and development.

As a result of Geof's efforts, the calibre of BSUK's management and governance exceed those of much larger sports than baseball and softball.

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