LONDON (AFP) — English Football Association executive Julie Harrington has been appointed as the new chief executive of British Cycling, the beleaguered governing body announced Monday.
Harrington replaces Ian Drake at a time when British Cycling is fending off allegations of wrongdoing amid investigations by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) and funding body UK Sport.
“I am thrilled to be asked to lead British Cycling as it embarks on a new chapter in its history,” Harrington said in a statement.
“This is the right time to be joining one of this country’s leading governing bodies.”
Harrington has 15 years of experience as a senior sport executive and is responsible for running both Wembley Stadium and the St. George’s Park national football center for the FA. She is due to start work in May.
Drake had been British Cycling CEO since 2009 and oversaw a hugely successful period that included multiple Olympic successes and major breakthroughs in road racing.
He announced his departure last October, saying it was the “natural moment” to step down.
British Cycling is being investigated by UKAD over a mysterious package delivered to Bradley Wiggins during the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine.
British Cycling and Team Sky, who share a Manchester headquarters, have been unable to provide evidence to support their claim that the package in question contained the legal decongestant Fluimucil.
It has been alleged the package contained the banned corticosteroid triamcinolone.
Leaks of Wiggins’s medical records last September revealed he was granted therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) for triamcinolone prior to three grand tours between 2011 and 2013, including his 2012 Tour de France triumph.
British Cycling, Sky and Wiggins have denied wrongdoing.
UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead criticized British Cycling and Sky last week for failing to keep proper records of drugs given to riders.
British Cycling appointed a new performance director, Stephen Park, in December after Shane Sutton stepped down amid sexism allegations, which he denies.
UK Sport is carrying out an independent investigation into the culture and practices at British Cycling.
British Cycling chairman Jonathan Browning has apologized for “failings” following accusations of bullying and sexism towards elite cyclists.