A highly accomplished sports business executive with more than 25 years experience developing some of the most recognised and successful brands in sport is joining the British Olympic Association as its next Chief Executive Officer.
Bill Sweeney, who has worked with brands that enjoy prominence across Olympic sport, rugby, cricket and America’s Cup sailing, is being introduced today as Chief Executive Officer of the British Olympic Association. He will begin his duties in mid-November.
Sweeney, 55, will be responsible for directing the day-to-day activities of the British Olympic Association, including overseeing preparations for the Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the inaugural European Games in 2015, and the many other international, multi-sport events in which Team GB will compete. Sweeney will lead a staff of 50 professionals from the organisation’s London headquarters. His appointment follows a three-month search process led by the global executive search firm Odgers Berndtson.
Currently, Sweeney is Global Head of Business Development for PUMA AG, a role he has held since November 2010. Among his duties, Sweeney was responsible for designing and directing PUMA’s business strategy for the London 2012 Olympic Games, including directing the commercial programmes with Jamaican track superstar Usain Bolt. He also directed PUMA’s marketing activities in support of the 34th America’s Cup and Oracle Racing Team USA across all global regions.
From 2003-2010, Sweeney served as Senior Vice President of adidas Reebok Group, where he was responsible for the global management and strategic direction of a multi-billion euro business unit that included adidas’ support of Team GB for the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games, among other categories. Under Sweeney’s leadership, the business unit grew significantly from 2004 to 2010. He also re-negotiated the agreement that led to Stella McCartney being named as Creative Director for Team GB for the London 2012 Olympic Games, which resulted in record-breaking sales of Team GB licensed apparel prior to and during the Games.
In these roles, Sweeney has managed and led large multi-cultural cross functional teams across geographical locations.
He has also held senior-level global sales, marketing and brand development positions with companies such as Ellesse Ltd., Jordan Grand Prix and Reebok International, where he served as President and General Manager of Reebok Japan/Asia Pacific, and Senior Vice President and General Manager of North America.
A versatile athlete, Sweeney represented and captained his UAU football side at university and played rugby for Aberdeenshire and Roslyn Park. He is also an accomplished golfer and skier.
Lord Sebastian Coe, British Olympic Association Chairman:
“We had a number of outstanding candidates who put themselves forward for our Chief Executive position. Bill’s business and sport experience, and his impressive record in developing global sports brands, makes him the right choice for this role. Bill has worked in the Olympic environment and he understands the needs of athletes who compete at the highest levels of international sport. Through his leadership positions at adidas, he has a clear understanding of Team GB and our values.
Importantly, Bill knows how to build brands, reach consumers and generate the revenues that are necessary to support our operations.
We are delighted to welcome Bill to his new role at the British Olympic Association and look forward to the contributions he will make in support of Team GB and the wider British Olympic family.”
Bill Sweeney, incoming British Olympic Association Chief Executive Officer:
“It is a privilege to have the opportunity to work with the dedicated team at the British Olympic Association in making certain the United Kingdom’s finest athletes have the resources and support they need to excel on the international stage.
With managerial experience across Europe, the U.S. and Asia with some of the sports industry’s leading brands, I look forward to working with all our partners and stakeholders to ensure we have the best-prepared, best-supported teams competing at their highest levels in the Summer, Winter, European and Youth Olympic Games.
Having had experience overseeing programmes to meet the equipment needs of Olympic athletes, and developing business initiatives at both the Beijing and London Olympic Games, I look forward to building on the excitement and momentum created by the outstanding performance of Team GB at London 2012.”