Athletics Ireland is the national governing body for Athletics in Ireland.  The Association’s primary roles are to support and develop the athletes of Ireland of all ages and abilities and to contribute positively to increasing physical activity levels across the entire population.

Following a period of over 8 years, John Foley has announced his retirement as CEO and will retire at the end of April 2018.

While Athletics is a very popular sport and occupies a particular place in the Irish sporting and societal landscape, it also competes in a very challenging and competitive market. Despite this, the membership of Athletics Ireland has grown by almost 40% in recent years making athletics one of the fastest growing sports in Ireland.

In planning the future development of the sport, Athletics Ireland has set out specific goals and targets in its Strategic Plan 2017-2020.

The Association now seeks to recruit a suitable candidate to continue the progress made by the sport in recent years through the implementation of the Strategic Plan. The new CEO will have a key role in driving this activity under the guidance of the Board.

The successful applicant will face an exciting time in the sport in a role which provides a very challenging and rewarding opportunity.


As Chief Executive Officer, you will lead the organisation and be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day management of the organisation. You will be accountable to the Board as you drive the organisation forward by delivering the Goals of the Strategic Plan while providing the leadership necessary to meet Athletics Ireland’s future development needs.

As CEO, you will be expected to understand athletes and coaches needs while having the ability to manage a complex portfolio of organisational responsibilities including commercial and strategic priorities, operational effectiveness, stakeholder management, communications and financial/governance controls.  You will also have a sound knowledge of a High-Performance environment.

To be considered for this role you will need to be a strong leader, with excellent stakeholder management capabilities.  You will have a great understanding and appreciation of the integration of volunteerism with executive delivery.

You should have excellent skills in management prioritisation and specifically be experienced in delivery strategic plan goals.  Knowledge of the international sporting landscape is also essential.


Leadership / Strategic Planning

  • Demonstrate motivational skills to the Athletics Ireland management, staff and volunteer network across all activities
  • Represent Athletics Ireland and the athletics community in a responsible manner in line with the organisation’s values
  • Maintain and develop best practice management and governance protocols
  • Work proactively and respectfully with all the organisation’s key stakeholders to deliver the goals of the Strategic Plan
  • Deliver the goals and targets within the Strategic Plan 2017-2020

Stakeholder management

  • Create an environment where excellent relationships with all stakeholders – including Sport Ireland, Commercial partners, athletes, coaches and clubs can help deliver positively for the sport
  • Ensure an inclusive environment with consultation and dialogue at its core is a key priority for the organisation
  • Actively engage with the athletics community in creating an open dialogue on matters of significance

Financial/Governance/Risk Management

  • Manage the financial dealings of the Association in a prudent manner in line with Board oversight
  • Ensure Athletics Ireland is at best peer practice in all Governance matters and in full compliance with statutory frameworks with full Board engagement
  • Continue to actively drive revenue streams outside of statutory funding vehicles
  • Ensure all Athletics Ireland risk management systems and policies are appropriate, current and applied
  • Ensure the successful ongoing operation and resourcing of Board Committees in line with Board policies

Commercial, Marketing and Communications

  • Manage Commercial and sponsor relations to maximise revenue certainty by building long term partnerships
  • Identify new programmes and other opportunities to expand the revenue base
  • Ensure that marketing and communications activities are structured to strengthen the reputation of Athletics Ireland and that of the sport
  • Assume the role of primary spokesperson for Athletics Ireland in tandem with the organisation’s President


The key deliverables of the CEO are reflected in Athletics Ireland’s Strategic Plan priorities.  These include to:

  1. Continue to grow membership through our existing club base, enhanced coaching and new clubs and recruitment from schools with specific focus on disadvantaged areas.
  2. Ensure that competitions are athlete focused with an enhanced customer experience
  3. Support our elite athletes by continuing to develop structures so that we can field world class athletes with a sustainable performance coaching structure, facilities and support staff
  4. Expand participation in recreational events though a focus on existing programmes and the creation of initiatives in co-operation with Healthy Ireland
  5. Maintain and enhance our child safeguarding processes and healthy club plan.
  6. Manage governance and finances to best demonstrated practices and to train our staff to acquire expertise in every area to become best in class
  7. Make Marketing a key focus throughout the organisation


Athletics Ireland would like candidates to also have a range of skills, experience and traits which will aid them in the role, including:

  • Passion for athletics, its athletes, coaches and activities
  • Strategic experience in a similar field
  • Visionary thinking which will facilitate an openness to change
  • Great people person to relate to the wide variety of athletic enthusiasts
  • Strong but inclusive management style
  • Collaborative capability to deliver the maximum for the sport from relationships
  • Marketeer instincts with good brand awareness

Please send your CV and cover letter to our recruitment partner Ascension Executive Recruitment – Any applications sent directly to Athletics Ireland will be forwarded on. The closing date for receipt of applications is 5.00pm on Tuesday 2nd January 2018.