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British Cycling CEO Brian Facer leaves post with immediate effect

Governing body looks for new head weeks after announcing controversial Shell partnership

British Cycling has announced that its CEO, Brian Facer, has stepped down from his role “with immediate effect,” with the decision said to have been taken “by mutual agreement with the board of directors.” The news comes a fortnight after the governing body was widely criticised after unveiling petrochemical giant Shell as its new official partner.

The organisation says that it has begun the process of selecting a new CEO, and that in the meantime its Cycling Delivery Director, Danielle Every, will be acting CEO.

British Cycling Chair, Frank Slevin, said:“We remain fully committed to the delivery of our ‘Lead our sport, inspire our communities’ strategy, as we continue our work to support and grow our sport and wider activities, and provide our Great Britain  Cycling Team riders with the best possible platform for success.

“Our new CEO will join the organisation at an exciting time as we build towards next year’s inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships in Scotland, and the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024,” he added.

Earlier this month, British Cycling was accused of sportswashing by organisations including Greenpeace as a result of its announcement of an eight-year deal for Shell to become an official partner of the organisation.

At the time the partnership was announced, Facer claimed that it would help British Cycling meet its net zero targets.

> “Greenwashing, pure and simple” - fury as Shell UK sponsors British Cycling

He said: “We’re looking forward to working alongside Shell UK over the rest of this decade to widen access to the sport, support our elite riders and help our organisation and sport take important steps towards net zero – things we know our members are incredibly passionate about.  

“Within our new commercial programme, this partnership with Shell UK brings powerful support for cycling, will help us to improve and will make more people consider cycling and cyclists.”  

This year, British Cycling has also come under criticism after suspending its transgender policy following the UCI’s decision to bar the transgender athlete Emily Bridges from the women’s British Omnium Championship in Derby.

> British Cycling suspends transgender policy pending review of current system as fallout from Emily Bridges case continues

There was further controversy in September when it was forced to issue an apology after initially suggesting that cyclists should avoid riding their bikes during Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral and procession.

> “We’re sorry – we got this one wrong”: British Cycling apologises for advising cyclists not to ride their bikes during state funeral

Facer took up his position just under two years ago in November 2020, having previously worked as CEO of the Premiership rugby union side London Irish, overseeing its return to the capital after two decades of playing in Reading.

He replaced Julie Harrington, who had become the governing body’s CEO in March 2017. Her appointment came at a turbulent time for the organisation as it faced an independent review by UK Sport following allegations of bullying and discrimination, and a UK Anti-doping probe into potential wrongdoing at British Cycling and Team Sky.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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