Basketball England has appointed a new chair and vice chair to lead the organisation.

Former chief executive of Commonwealth Games England (CGE), Paul Blanchard, succeeds previous chair Matt Neville and interim chair Russell Bell.

Born Barikor, founder and CEO of exercise provider Our Parks and chair of Breaking GB, becomes the NGB’s new vice chair.

Bell said: “I am delighted to welcome Paul and Born to Basketball England. Both have a passion for sport and the skills, experience and networks to bring bold, dynamic leadership to basketball. “I am looking forward to them having a hugely positive impact on our game as we prepare our next strategic plan.”

Paul Blanchard

Blanchard joins BE with a wealth of experience from the sports sector.

He is currently the CEO of 176Sport, the company he founded after two successful cycles as CGE Chief Executive, where he led a team of 750 athletes, coaching and support staff to deliver Team England’s record medal haul at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

He also led Team England at the 2018 Gold Coast Games, before which he held Chief Executive roles at Surrey Sports Park, Harlequins Rugby League and Hull Kingston Rovers RLF, as well as senior marketing positions with Surrey County Cricket Club, Southampton FC and the Scottish Premier League.

Paul has also Chaired Active Surrey, the County Sports Partnership, responsible for delivering the national sports policy locally.

Blanchard said: “I am flattered and excited to be given this opportunity to Chair Basketball England, one of the most representative, forward-looking, engaging and well-managed NGBs in the country. Basketball is a great sport, with a very strong club, member and participant base in England and has the potential to continue growing significantly and positively impact everyone involved in the game.

“Also recently, at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, I saw first-hand how exciting 3x3 is, and it was one of my personal highlights watching Team England win Gold and Silver on finals night. The atmosphere was absolutely amazing and the passion for the sport was very clear to see.

“I am really looking forward to working with Born, the other Directors and CEO Stewart Kellett and his talented executive team to help support the further development of the sport at all levels throughout England.”

Born Barikor

Barikor has recently become Chair of Breaking GB, an Olympic sport for Paris 2024, and runs the thrilling fitness business Our Parks.

He is a Trustee at the Lawn Tennis Association Foundation and British Olympic Authority Foundation and on the Board of EMD-Exercise Music and Dance.

He has chaired EDI, Audit and Strategy committees on various boards and understands how to reach underprivileged communities and engage potential sponsors.

Barikor said: “My motivation for pursuing this role stems from my passion for disrupting and influencing real cultural change that elevates and inspires communities. I firmly believe in the transformative power of sport and its ability to impact individuals, families, and communities positively.

“Drawing from my experience in governance and safeguarding in sport, as well as my work with Sport England and UK Coaching, I am well-equipped to contribute to the development of coaching infrastructures and qualifications within Basketball England and aims of getting more women and girls participating in all levels.

“Yes, I play basketball and am a supporter and fan, but those skills are not why I applied for the role. Ethnically diverse leadership at every aspect of the game will only further inspire and make our sport truly accessible for all and build a culture of change.

“Having grown up in an environment where sport served as a vital outlet, I am deeply committed to ensuring that sport remains accessible to all.”

Hartmann Mason supported the recruitment of both directors.