The Olympic Federation of Ireland has completed the appointment of two new independent directors to its Executive Committee board.

Nigel Cowman was appointed as the first of two independent directors in 2021 and this has been completed with the appointment of the second independent director, Sean Hawkshaw, in October 2022.

The additions to the Executive Committee represent the latest Governance reforms at the organisation and follow on from the introduction of gender equality reforms to ensure a minimum gender representation of 40% across the OFI Executive Committee.

The current gender balance sits at 43%. The new members will join President Sarah Keane, Vice Presidents Colm Barrington and Robert Norwood, Honorary General Secretary Sarah O’Shea, CEO Peter Sherrard, Moira Aston, Michelle Carpenter, Georgina Drumm, Ciaran Gallagher, Linda Morgan, Patrick John Nolan, Lochlann Walsh, and Shane O’Connor on the Board.

Cowman is Group Finance Director at Glen Dimplex, having spent 24 years working in various finance and commercial roles in the sports sector.

He combines senior financial and commercial expertise with strategic planning, business planning, budgeting and financial reporting.

He was previously responsible for the finance functions of Nike’s UK and Ireland operation and was Lifestyle Sports’ Finance and Commercial Director for more than a decade.

“Incredibly proud to have been appointed non-executive director to the board of the Olympic Federation of Ireland,” he said on social media last night.

“Delighted to be working with Sarah Keane and the team at the OFI to continue the great work that has been done over the past number of years, in particular in relation to governance improvements and gender equality.”

“The team has built a great roster of sponsors with Permanent TSB, Allianz, and Deloitte having come on board in recent years.
Special thanks to Mark O’Donnell and the team at Odgers Berndtson for managing the recruitment process and to Rob Hartnett at Sport for Business for advertising the role.”

“It’s an incredibly exciting time to be involved with the OFI with the Paris games only 612 days away and so many talented athletes to serve.”

Sean Hawkshaw has been the CEO of KBI Global Investors for almost 20 years and played a key role in leading the organisation through a successful transition from a domestically oriented investment firm to a specialist equity manager with a global client base.

He also is a director and former chairman of the Irish Association of Investment Managers and a former director of the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority.

Sean also has a strong understanding of sport. His children compete at an elite level, including his daughter Sarah, who became a hockey Olympian at Tokyo 2020.

“We are very happy to have completed the induction and appointment of two independent directors to the OFI’s Board of voluntary professionals,” said Sarah Keane.

“The OFI Executive Committee is strengthened by their skillsets, which complement an already strong, diverse, and progressive membership. They bring significant personal experience and vision to assist us on our journey to 2024 and beyond.”

“The appointment of independent directors is a vital step in our Governance journey and adds to our diversity, connectivity, and range of skillsets,” added Peter Sherrard.

“We operate in a very competitive environment with high ambition and expectations for our future. Nigel and Sean bring many years of experience and their strategic insights will assist us all as we achieve and grow in the coming years.”