Triathlon Ireland CEO Chris Kitchen has announced his decision to step down from the role in September.

He has been in the role for seven years and has overseen a strong period of growth for the sport here.

His successor is expected to be appointed in the summer to allow for a period of transition.

During Kitchen’s time at the helm time, Triathlon Ireland has undergone a substantial change to become what is now considered a best-in-class national governing body.

Membership grew from 7,600 to almost 19,000. The number of sanctioned events increased from 165 to 200. The number of clubs rose from 67 to more than 100 while the organisation’s operating budget increased by two-thirds from €1.18M to €2M.

In addition, the sport attracted BMW as a major sponsor to help bring its ambitions to life.

Triathlon Ireland now has one of the highest per-capita participation rates for triathlon in the world and is globally recognised amongst triathlon national governing bodies as being a leader in areas such as member services, coach education, governance, marketing, sponsorship and in its commitment to gender balance.

Its elite athletes continue to excel on the international stage and the organisation has built a robust regional development platform with centres of excellence in Dublin and Limerick.

“Chris has built a team of like-minded professionals and empowered them to deliver to our community,” said Triathlon Ireland President Lochlann Walsh.

“I know I speak for all the board and staff that we will miss Chris greatly. On a personal level, he has become a friend to us all.”

“We all wish him every success for the future and we look forward to seeing him at races with his tri suit on rather than his CEO jacket.”

Kitchen came to Triathlon Ireland following four decades in the IT sector and a similar amount of time as a triathlete, which included governance roles as a club chairperson and board member of British Triathlon.

“I have dabbled in many things from ice cream van salesperson to truck driver to planner to IT salesperson and company owner but I have to say that this has been one of the most rewarding periods of my career and there has not been a single day where I have thought ‘oh no I have to go into work today’. It has been a real pleasure.”

“I was lucky enough to catch one of those 1 in 7 perfect waves and simply managed to ride it. Triathlon has developed globally at a fantastic rate and couple this with the Irish love for sport, the growth has been brilliant. Triathlon has moved from being a niche sport to mainstream and the challenge it presents is a key to its success.”

After he steps down, Kitchen will return to the UK to spend more time with his family but has pledged to remain engaged in the sport of triathlon through his Vice President role in the European Triathlon Union.

“I want to stay in sport and would love to stay in Irish sport too so I’m looking at offering a sports consultancy but also happy to put myself forward for Board positions.”

I would be keen to stay connected to Triathlon Ireland too, but don’t want to get in the way of the new CEO. Also, it would be good to spend a bit more time with my wife and my boys.”

“Whilst she is more Irish than me – grandparents for me parents for her – she has stayed in England developing her own career along with my twin boys and their wives and girlfriends so being able to catch up with them a bit more will be good.”

“I also have a 1972 Honda 500 Four in bits in my garage and I have been promising to rebuild it for 30 years now so maybe I can get that up and running too.”

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Image Credit: Sportsfile