Jonathan Hill is expected to take over as FAI chief executive. Picture: Sportsfile
The FAI are set to appoint former English FA commercial director Jonathan Hill as their new chief executive.
In a week when the last permanent chief executive John Delaney’s failings are further laid bare in a new book, the imminent arrival of Hill into Abbotstown should give the embattled organisation a much-needed profile post.
Odgers Berndtson, the global recruitment firm deployed by the FA to source their leading executives, were also retained by the FAI for this selection process.
The interview panel, which featured representatives from the FAI, Sport Ireland and Uefa, have recommended Hill to ratification by the FAI board in the coming days.
Hill oversaw a €400m increase in commercial sponsorship during the five-year stint he finished at the FA in 2009.
The Leeds United fan has remained in the industry by working for leading companies such as Kentaro, IMG, WPP and most recently Laureus.
Speaking to UP magazine last month, Hill said he was ready for a return to the mainstream sports sector.
“I’ve got a lot of experience in the football sector but have been lucky enough to build experience across a range of sports, so I would love to be able to help any entity within any sport to push itself forward to be and remain relevant in the ever changing world we live in,” he said.
Gary Owens, in the role since January on an interim basis, abruptly withdrew from the field of full-time candidates last Friday week in between the two rounds of interviews. The final interviews were held on Friday by Zoom.
Governance specialist Sarah Keane was then considered the frontrunner but the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s President’s limited commercial experience as Swim Ireland chief executive proved a drawback.
Facing a period when the debt-ridden association requires significant private turnover to complement the state aid clinched by recent reform updates, Hill can point to a proven track record in generating cash.
One of the rivals he beat off for the post was his former colleague at the FA, Adrian Bevington.
IRFU warn existence of professional rugby under ‘significant threat’