British Swimming welcomes key Board appointments

24 Nov 2014

British Swimming is pleased to announce the appointments of Alex Kelham and Peter Littlewood to its Board.

Alex (nee Bennett) is a lawyer focused on commercial sports matters, but still considers herself a swimmer at heart. She swam for Great Britain and Nova Centurion before retiring in 2000 having won international junior and senior medals between 1992 and 1995.

Her aquatics career was cut short in 1996 by a car accident and, while she returned to swim at the World Student Games in 1999, her Olympic ambitions were left unfulfilled.

Alex still swims regularly, both indoor and open water, and went on to play water polo for the University of Nottingham while finishing her studies.

Alex's legal career has focused on the sports sector and she spent seven years in-house with the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games where she lead the brand protection team. She is now a Managing Associate with law firm Lewis Silkin LLP focusing on sponsorship, brand protection and other commercial matters.

Alex acts for football and rugby clubs, national and international sport organisations, global brands and other businesses working in sports marketing and sponsorship, and brings great experience of these areas to the British Swimming Board.

“After many years away from competitive swimming I got to the point where I felt detached from the sport,” said Alex. “Swimming has given me so much; I wanted to get involved again and to give something back. The British Swimming Board seemed an ideal fit.

“I knew some of the Board members already due to my sporting and legal career and they encouraged me to apply. I’m thrilled to have been appointed and hope I can contribute positively. I’m particularly keen to see the profile and commercial value of the sport raised.

“As well as my professional experience my swimming background has given me valuable insight into what athletes have to go through to achieve their goals. I have their interests at heart but understand the performance and commercial elements that must be the focus of British Swimming.”

Peter will add a strong commercial and entrepreneurial skill set to the Board based on his extensive experience and expertise as a global business leader.

Previously, he spent 18 years within senior management at Mars including the roles of senior vice president of marketing within the US and business leader for the Snickers brand around the world. During his time with Mars, Peter was also involved in a leadership role across the former sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games. 

Peter was a Board member and chief commercial officer of Allied Domecq PLC, before the company was acquired in 2005, where he was responsible for global marketing, sales and innovation of the FTSE 50 company.

Currently Peter is Chairman of Bulldog Skincare for Men which he helped to start up in 2006. It won Small to Medium Company of the Year at the National Business Awards earlier this month and is currently the third largest men’s skincare brand in the UK and is expanding on a global scale.

Peter gained valuable insight into sport governance through previous board positions as a non-executive director of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) from 2010 to 2013 and also chairman of the AEGON Championships at the Queen’s Club from 2009 to 2013.

Peter’s passion for sport came from an early age as a former runner-up at the British Junior Tennis Championships. He also played football for England Universities and represented Middlesex under-16s at cricket.

“I’m delighted to be joining British Swimming,” said Peter. “I wanted to be involved in a major Olympic sport with a rich history and promising future where my commercial and marketing background, coupled with a passion for performance sport, can help with the continued development of the organisation.

“My skill set is commercial and entrepreneurial while my roles within the LTA have given me a good understanding and experience of governance and how sporting bodies work. I’m looking forward to applying thee, together with my love of sport, to British Swimming as we work towards Rio and Tokyo.”

Commenting on the appointments, British Swimming Chairman Maurice Watkins said: “We are delighted that Alex and Peter have joined the British Swimming Board. They both bring a wealth of knowledge which will be critical at this time as we seek new dynamic commercial partners to work with us as we prepare for Rio and Tokyo.

“Alex has an international sporting background and a legal career focused on the marketing and sponsorship side while Peter brings a strong commercial and entrepreneurial skill set built on a career as a global business leader as well as a proven ability and passion for sports.”

The Chairman also paid tribute to outgoing members Guy Davies and Sam Greetham. “It is with sincere thanks that the British Swimming Board says farewell to both Guy and Sam. They have both made massive contributions to the success of our sport over many years.

“We hope Guy will compete in the European Masters Championships 2016 in London and that Sam will continue to guide us as we develop and evolve our open water programme.”