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BRITISH FENCING BIDS FAREWELL TO FIRST CEO

31st October 2012

Piers Martin steps down after more than four years in role 

Today British Fencing will bid farewell to its first ever full time Chief Executive Officer, Piers Martin.  He started work for the organisation at the beginning of May 2008 and was tasked with bringing in additional funding from both the public and private sector whilst implementing “fit for purpose” governance.

In order to succeed Martin was required to implement rapid change throughout the organisation.  To that point in time British Fencing, in the main, was run by volunteers - without whom the sport would not exist today.  However the introduction of Lottery Funding administered and distributed by UK Sport and Sport England meant that British Fencing (as with all other national governing bodies of sport) had to adopt their “no compromise” approach.  In short this is a set of guidelines in best practice for the successful running of a sports body both on and off the field of play.

Martin’s first major success for the organisation was securing the funding for our World Class Programme on the basis of a promise that British Fencing would adhere to the “no compromise” framework.

Building a more professional set up at HQ, and bringing in more paid staff, another success story was soon to be announced as Martin was able to work with the then National Development Manager to secure over £1million pounds of funding from Sport England to create British Fencing’s first ever formal development programme. 

Sponsors began to court the sport and soon British Fencing could boast its first ever formal sponsor in Lloyd and Partners.  The arrangement with them ended earlier this year after a successful partnership.  There was even better news to come in January 2010 when specialist insurer, Beazley, signed up as the sport’s “Premier Partner” in a deal worth £1million.  Martin, with the support of David King (Board Director responsible for Marketing and Communications) worked tirelessly for months to secure this private funding.  This deal meant that British Fencing became the seventh highest privately sponsored Olympic sport.  The money is split equally between funding our international squads and developing grass roots.

Making the organisation’s governance “fit for purpose” was perhaps Martin’s most challenging task.  The sheer amount of change required to take the organisation from a very long-standing UK Sport “red light” in this area would have been daunting to most.  However he succeeded when earlier this year UK Sport announced that British Fencing was awarded a “green light” for governance.  This will go a long way to securing future funding as the organisation shows its largest financial provider a desire to improve under their guidance.

Martin has achieved a lot more, (turning the England Trophy into an event that the FIE recognised as “one of the best in the world”, bringing in a full time Performance Director, over-seeing the development of GO/FENCE – the list goes on,) but it should be noted he has succeeded in the three main tasks given to him.  He leaves the organisation in a better place than when he arrived.  We are all very grateful to him for that and wish him well in his future endeavours.

Peter King will formally pick up the reigns tomorrow as interim CEO tasked with continuing Piers Martin’s work whilst identifying a permanent replacement for him in six months time.

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