Tales from the Top: Peter King, British Cycling
Welcome to the second instalment of the new Tales from the Top blog series from the Sport and Recreation Alliance, the independent voice for sport and recreation. Here, we will aim to bring you some golden nuggets of information about sport and recreation administration from people at the very top of the sector.
Just before the start of the Olympics we continue our series with the Executive Director of British Cycling, Peter King:
Peter King CBE
Positions held –
Executive Director of British Cycling (Current)
Currently on the boards of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, Commonwealth Games England, a permanent place on the board of the European Regions Airline Association and was recently appointed to the board of England Athletics as Vice-Chair and Chair Elect.
Peter was previously a director of Cycling England until its demise in April 2011.
Awards recieved –
CBE – for services to cycling
Bidlake Trophy – one of the highest awards in cycling
Cycling Hall of Fame member
Peter King is Executive Director of British Cycling, the national governing body for cycling in the UK, having been Chief Executive from February 1997 until December 2008. He has overseen a period during which the organisation has moved from the brink of insolvency, to being one of the most vibrant and successful governing bodies of sport in the UK.
Cycling is now one of the leading sports in terms of lottery funding received and arguably the best in terms of delivering returns on that investment. British Cycling has a thriving coach education programme, employs more than 300 staff and has a highly respected world class performance programme. The organisation has a comprehensive, ambitious and deliverable Whole Sport Plan to drive up to new levels in terms of both excellence and participation.
Peter qualified as a Fellow in both the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute. In 1978 he founded a company specifically aimed at introducing high standards of corporate governance and reliable management accounting functions to small and medium sized businesses. He has a permanent place on the board of the European Regions Airline Association, and is primarily responsible for their financial affairs.
Apart from cycling, Peter has competed at local, regional or national level in sports as diverse as athletics, table tennis, football, golf, squash, badminton and cricket and he has been involved as a volunteer official, coach or administrator in almost all of these sports. He still competes regularly in cycling competitions.
"Always be the best that you can be”
"Don’t demand more of others than you are prepared to give yourself"
"A fit mind works best in a fit body"
What is your position and how long have you held it?
- I am an executive director at British Cycling having been appointed to that position when I stood down from the position of CEO at the end of 2008, after being in that post for almost 12 years.
When you were the CEO of British Cycling, did you have any long term aims for your organisation, if so what were they?
- In 1997 we formed twin ambitions of becoming ranked number one in the world competitively and growing from 13,000 to 100,000, both by 2012. We achieved the former in 2007 and are still working towards the latter, having reached 50,000.
How did you achieve these aims, and if you did not manage to, why were you unsuccessful?
- We achieved our first aim by hard work and focus, culminating in an approach known as the 'aggregation of marginal gains'. To do this we secured the maximum possible funding from UK Sport, employed the best available coaches and managers and focused all our efforts on an athlete-centred, centralised programme.
- We have not yet achieved our second target but are confident of doing so in the months ahead.
What was your most difficult moment running the organisation?
- Having to make nine people redundant when Sport England withdrew funding of our programme as they could not endorse the strategy we had adopted.
How did you resolve it?
- By sticking to our guns and finally convincing Sport England not only that we had been right all along but that our model should be adopted by other national governing bodies.
What advice would you give to a new CEO of a sports organisation?
- Employ the best people you can get, secure as much funding as you can, give your team the space they need to fulfil their potential, let them take the credit – and stand beside them if anything does not go to plan.
Which other sporting organisations do you admire and why?
- Rowing and sailing for being consistently successful and consistently well managed.
- Manchester United for delivering consistent success from a well-funded position.
- Crewe Alexander for managing successfully within limited resources and regularly delivering talented youngsters from a well-run academy.
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