Role of the chair
Within a sports organisation the role title 'chair' can mean different things depending on the structure of the organisation.
Some organisations will have a president to do public facing duties such as providing representation at award ceremonies, functions, meetings, in the press and generally to be the public face of the organisation. This role should not be assumed as part of the role of the chair.
Usually the chair will be elected or appointed as set out in the governing document for the organisation.
The main responsibility for the chair of the organisation is to run the board meetings and lead the organisation in terms of strategy, vision and mission.
In addition, some chairs take on a number of additional roles. The chair can only take on these additional roles if they have been authorised to do so. This authorisation might be set out in the governing document or related procedure, or agreed by the other trustees in a role description or some other document.
Additional roles of the chair sometimes include:
- supporting and supervising the head of staff or chief executive and acting as a channel of communication between board and staff
- acting as a figurehead for the organisation (this would be where an organisation does not have a public figurehead such as a president)
- leading on the development of the board and ensuring its decisions are implemented
- taking urgent action (but not decision making unless authorised) between board meetings when it isn’t possible or practical to hold a meeting.
The roles above are not exclusively roles of the chair but it is very important to establish what type of chair your organisation needs as this will influence the type of person you are looking for.
Where an organisation has a presidential figure then the chair becomes a strategic leadership role. In contrast, where an organisation does not have a president, the chair can be more of a public face for the organisation. In this case it is crucial to ensure the board also gets strategic leadership either through the chair or through a deputy chair.
The relationship and distinction between the chair and the CEO is vital and more can information on this distinction can be found in the downloads below and the pages in this section which can be navigated through the left hand menu.
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