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The BAC is delighted to announce Anna Watkins MBE as the organisation’s new Chief Executive Officer.

Anna, whose illustrious rowing career saw her win London 2012 gold as well as claim two world championship titles, will lead the organisation in maximising its current strategy in order to continue to evolve, respond effectively to athlete and system-wide demands, and ultimately deliver truly world-leading support to British athletes.

Following an international sporting career which spanned well over a decade Anna, who was awarded an MBE for services to rowing in 2013, moved into consultancy. She was a vice president at McKinsey’s advanced analytics arm, QuantumBlack, and has since worked as an independent consultant, undertaking work in areas including strategy, performance and wellbeing. In addition, she has remained involved in sport as both an athlete mentor and coach.  

Of her appointment as BAC CEO, she said:

“The opportunity to be back involved with sport directly, and with the BAC in particular, came at the perfect time for me, and I am relishing the opportunity to get started with this incredibly valuable organisation.

“I want to take the BAC to a place where it has the capacity and resources to lead ever more proactively in athlete welfare. Athletes are the most critical part of our national sporting success. In order to properly tackle the welfare challenges that arise in sport, their perspective must be heard loud and clear at all levels of decision making in elite sport. There is much to do, including developing opportunities to use new technology to connect much more closely with our members both past and present.”

Anna previously held a position on the BAC Board, which is now chaired by another ex-rower, Vicki Aggar. Of the organisation’s progress in recent years, Anna explained:

“I have seen the organisation transform under Vicki’s leadership. There is more to be done, however, and I know that I can complement the organisation’s existing skill set well.”

Since retiring, Anna has also completed an applied mathematics PhD, and worked with Hinsta Performance to enable organisations to align their performance and wellbeing strategies.

Along with a substantial and varied professional skill set, she also brings to the CEO role a first-hand knowledge of the BAC’s role and purpose in the lives of its members.

Of her own experiences as an athlete, she said:

“As an athlete, I wanted to be able to trust that someone was looking out for me, whilst I had my eyes fixed on training and competing. I wanted to know that my contracts, selection and conditions were fair, safe and taken care of.

“I wanted to know that I had a place to turn to, for advice or signposting, that was independent of my sporting environment. And I wanted that organisation to be really, really good at what it does, and to change things for the better. Within this role, I’m eager to ensure that we are meeting and exceeding these expectations in the eyes of our current athletes.”

Vicki Aggar added:

“Myself and the rest of the BAC Board are delighted to welcome Anna to the organisation as our Chief Executive Officer. Anna’s energy, passion and vision for the BAC is incredibly exciting, and I am very much looking forward to working with her to continue the journey and build on the considerable progress that the BAC has made in recent years.

“Anna’s background as an exceptional athlete with extensive international experience, combined with her recent professional experience has positioned her as the ideal candidate to lead the BAC. It’s great to have another athlete in a leadership position in sport, and I know Anna will work tirelessly on behalf of the membership to represent their best interests.”

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