Kick It Out appoints new CEO

20 Jan 2021

By: Sport Industry Group

Kick It Out has announced the appointment of Tony Burnett as its new CEO.

A diversity and inclusion specialist, as well as a business leader, Burnett will take up his role on 1st February 2021, joining the anti-racism charity from West Midlands Police, where he has been Assistant Director for Diversity and Inclusion since January 2018.

He has also previously held senior Diversity and Inclusion positions at Lloyds Banking Group and Ford, holding the position of Head of Diversity and Inclusion at the former and European Diversity Manager at the latter. He has also worked as a Diversity and Inclusion consultant, supporting both public and private sector organisations in the UK, Ireland and Africa.

Apart from business experience, Burnett is also a former footballer, having featured in a FA Youth Cup fixture at Anfield at the age of 17, before moving into the semi-professional and amateur game where he played for a number of years. After retiring from playing, Tony gained his UEFA B licence and coached youth football for over 10 years.

“As an avid football fan, I have been aware of the work of Kick It Out for a long time now and have always been passionate about the cause they represent,” said Burnett. 

“Football should be a game where everyone feels they belong, and we must continue to work hard to make that a reality. I’m really looking forward to getting started and helping to lead this organisation forward over the coming years.”

Sanjay Bhandari, Chair, Kick It Out, added: “We are absolutely delighted that Tony has agreed to become our new CEO. Tony brings a crucial blend of experience from the pitch and from the boardroom. 

“Tony’s experience as a young player and as a coach will resonate with many of the people we represent. He has experienced what they are experiencing. His track record of driving change as a diversity and inclusion professional, demonstrates that he can translate that experience into meaningful change. I am looking forward to working with Tony, delivering our new strategy and being a galvanising force for inclusive change in football.”

Executive Search and Interim Management firm Savannah Group handled the search for the charity’s new CEO, with Burnett replacing Roisin Wood, who stepped down from the CEO role in October 2020.

Meanwhile, Savannah Group has also been appointed by The PFA to assist the search for a new CEO.

The PFA says the selection follows a 'rigorous and transparent' tender process, and will see the recruitment led by Savannah Group Partner Tony Simpson.