Debbie Hewitt to become FA's first ever chairwoman

8 June 2021, 09:37 | Updated: 8 June 2021, 12:19

Debbie Hewitt will become the permanent successor to Greg Clarke
Debbie Hewitt will become the permanent successor to Greg Clarke. Picture: FA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

The Football Association has officially confirmed the nomination of Debbie Hewitt MBE to become the first ever chairwoman in its 157-year history.

Hewitt is set to succeed the interim chair Peter McCormick OBE in January next year after being unanimously chosen by the FA Board.

She will become the permanent successor to Greg Clarke, who resigned last November after making a series of offensive remarks during an appearance before MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee.

"The panel were in full agreement that she has the outstanding chair and governance expertise, across an extensive range of business sectors, as well as the proven leadership qualities and character required for the role," said an FA statement.

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Hewitt’s career spans over 15 years in listed, private equity-backed and privately owned companies, across many different sectors.

She is currently the non-executive chair of Visa Europe, The Restaurant Group plc, BGL Group and White Stuff.

She will step down from The Restaurant Group, which includes chains such as Wagamama and Frankie and Benny's, after six years in the role when she joins the FA.

Hewitt, who was awarded an MBE in 2011 for services to business and the public sector, said: "As the events in recent months have shown, this is a significant moment in time for English football, with a clear purpose for all stakeholders to secure the long-term health of the game at all levels.

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"I've been passionate about football from a very young age and I'm excited by the opportunity to play my part in shaping the future of something that means so much to so many."

The FA Council will be asked to formally ratify the appointment at its next meeting on July 22, with McCormick remaining in position as interim chair until Hewitt officially starts next year.

"This is an excellent appointment for the FA and English football in general. Debbie was the outstanding candidate from a talented and experienced field," said Tinsley.

"She immediately demonstrated her passion and ability to positively influence the direction of the FA on a domestic and global stage, providing strong and principled leadership along the way."