Gary Owens, interim CEO of the Football Association of Ireland, has informed FAI Chairman Roy Barrett that he is not going to seek appointment to the role of permanent Chief Executive Officer.
In a letter to staff sent on Friday, Owens highlighted that with last Mondays’ EGM voting overwhelmingly in support for the governance and reforms changes required, he has now completed all the objectives agreed with the Board in January.
“My objective in taking the interim role of Chief Executive was to help put the Association into a stable financial position with a new structure that would allow the Association to move forward with confidence,” he told FAI.ie.
“Over the last six months, we have delivered a financial package to ensure the solvency of the Association, have put a new Senior Leadership and a new International Management team in place and I am confident that this new team will bring the Association to a new level for the benefit of all.”
“This team will have the support of our members who provided overwhelming support for the constitutional and governance changes required for sustainable reform at our EGM last Monday.”
“I am also very proud of the role our staff played in delivering protocols for a Safer Return to Football for our members post COVID-19 in really difficult circumstances. I have really enjoyed working with all the staff at the FAI and I would like to thank Roy and the Board for appointing me as Interim CEO in February.”
“I would also like to acknowledge the strong support provided by all our key stakeholders – Sport Ireland, the Department of Sport, UEFA, FIFA and Bank of Ireland – during what has been a very difficult time for the organisation. I am delighted that the members fully endorsed all the work completed during that time.”
“I have confirmed to the Board that I am happy to provide interim leadership support during any transition period up to the appointment of a permanent CEO and I look forward to seeing the Association continue to develop in line with the strategy. I am now looking forward to reverting to my original plans in the business world.”
Owens has endured an at times turbulent time in the role, as would have been expected but he does leave it stronger in terms of the reforms and the financial position than was the case when he came in.
He has a winning CV from his career in business having held senior positions in Hibernian Insurance, AIG, IFG, and as CEO most recently of Downs Syndrome Ireland. He is also a former Chair of Athletics Ireland.
The focus will now switch to the appointment of his successor. Initial interviews were held last week and an announcement on who will take up the reins is expected this month.