James Galvin is to leave his position as Chief Executive of the Federation of Irish Sport at the end of the month.
He joined the organisation in October 2015 and has overseen two tumultuous years of a general election, two Ministers of State with responsibility for Sport and one almighty controversy emerging from the fallout of the Rio Olympics and the Olympic Council of Ireland.
Galvin was well set for managing conflict after a career in the Irish defence forces that included a spell serving with peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan.
He joined the Federation, which is a collective representative body for Ireland’s Sporting National Governing Bodies and local sports partnerships, as a successor to original CEO Sarah O’Connor after her move to the world of sports marketing and PR as Head of Sport at WHPR.
Galvin’s first Annual Conference of the Federation marked the first public outing as Minister for Sport of Shane Ross and of a one to one interview between Caroline Murphy and then President of the Olympic Council of Ireland, Pat Hickey.
Hickey contended at the time that Russian athletes should be allowed to compete at the Olympic Games later that summer, which seemed out of line with thinking at the time around the McLaren Report, but that element of spotlight was to pale beside the subsequent events that led to his eventual arrest in the early hours of a Brazil morning and the ensuing controversies that ended in his stepping down from the position as President.
The battle to succeed him was short but occasionally fierce and was a time of real tension within the world of sports administration.
“Sport for Business understands that Galvin will not be exiting our world and that a role within a leading third level education institution will be announced shortly for the former Aide de Camp to the president of Ireland.”
Galvin proved a steady hand at the tiller though and when the dust settled on the election of Sarah Keane as President and a wide ranging group of new members of the Olympic Council Irish sport emerged renewed.
Galvin oversaw the development of the Sport Industry Awards through his two years in office and his second Annual Conference brought together a strong story on what organisations need to do to step up efforts in fundraising through philanthropy and other means.
The Federation’s principal public role has long been to represent sport within circles of Government and while there were mixed views over sports treatment in the budget there was no doubt that the Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan in particular had a keen understanding of the sports brief and good progress was made culminating in the announcement this week of the next phase of development of the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena.
The new Minister of State Brendan Griffin will have a couple of months under his belt by the time a new CEO is found to replace Galvin but the world of sports administration and indeed politics moves on.
Sport for Business understands that Galvin will not be exiting our world and that a role within a leading third level education institution will be announced shortly for the former Aide de Camp to the president of Ireland.
We wish him well in this and look forward to his continued presence within this world of Irish sport.
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