Former Deputy Chief Medical Officer Van-Tam among raft of board appointments at Parkrun

Mass participation events charity Parkrun Global has named Sir Jonathan Stafford Nguyen Van-Tam as one of seven new trustees to its board.

Van-Tam become one of the most recognisable government health officials amid the Covid pandemic when he was deputy chief medical officer (CMO) for England.

The public health expert, who is the University of Nottingham’s pro-vice chancellor of medicine and health sciences, will join Parkrun’s board in March, while all his other fellow new appointments take up their roles this month.

Joining Van Tam as a new board member is David Dinsmore, chief operating officer of News UK, the publisher of The Sun, The Times and Times Radio, among other media outlets. Dinsmore is a former Sun editor.

Other new appointments include St Christopher Hospice finance and corporate services director John Vickers, and Gordon Seabright, the former Eden Project chief executive who leads London art and creative charity Creative Land Trust.

Sarah Powell, the chief executive of British Gymnastics is another new board level recruit.

Meanwhile, the chief executive of non-profit organisation Women in Transport, and Nat Poulter, CEO of media and marketing firm Jungle Creations complete the list of new appointments.

They join current board members chair Gavin Megaw and Christine Gibbons and Jeremy Townsend.

Their appointments follow a recruitment process that involved a shortlist of 15 candidates, selected from 145 applications.

“I am delighted that such a wide group of talented people volunteered their services to help parkrun,” said Megaw.

“Every one of our shortlisted 15 could have become a Trustee. We were focused on acquiring the skills we need to help the charity to become world class in terms of our operations and make more of an impact within communities across the world.

“I’m proud that we have selected Trustees from a range of backgrounds and skill sets, and, importantly, who are proven leaders with differing views of how the world works. This will ensure we challenge our thinking and assumptions, so we can deliver more for those who need it most in these challenging times.”

Five-year strategy

Their appointments come as Parkrun prepares to publish its five-year strategy next month.

“We have been working through a huge programme of change over the past 12 months, as we seek to invest in the organisation and strengthen our governance and leadership, to ensure we are meeting and exceeding our responsibilities as a global health and wellbeing charity, said Parkrun Global chief executive Russ Jeffreys.

“A big part of this work has been the recruitment of new trustees, and it has been incredibly humbling to see the calibre and passion of the individuals applying to join us. I’m looking forward to welcoming them all to the team and working with them on this next exciting chapter for Parkrun.”

Last year Parkrun was embroiled in a scandal over payments its former chief executive received from a third-party supplier.

It emerged that its former CEO Nick Pearson received an undisclosed commission from the supplier regarding the creation of the clothing brand CONTRA four years ago.

The “irregularity" was discovered by Jeffreys and reported to trustees. “I made a huge error of judgement,” said Pearson at the time.

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