Debbie Hewitt to become first female chair of the Football Association

Debbie Hewitt

Northern Powerhouse woman Debbie Hewitt MBE is to become the Football Association’s first ever chairwoman in its 157-year history.

She is set to be a permanent successor to Greg Clarke, who resigned last November after making a series of offensive remarks during an appearance before MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee.

She will take over from interim FA chair Peter McCormick OBE in January next year after a unanimous nomination by the FA board.

Ms Hewitt, who received an MBE in 2011 for services to business and the public sector, holds a number of non-exec roles.

She is non-executive chairperson of Visa Europe, CompareTheMarket owners BGL Group, Moss Bros Group, The Restaurant Group and White Stuff.

She is also a non-executive director of Redrow Group and Domestic and General.

In 2017 she was named in the Northern Powerhouse Women’s Power List.

Debbie started her executive career as a management trainee with Marks and Spencer and after working in different roles in the motor industry and became the MD of RAC. She started a portfolio career when RAC was acquired by Aviva in 2005.

She will step down from The Restaurant Group, which owns chains such as Wagamama and Frankie and Benny’s, when she takes on her FA role.

“I’ve been passionate about football from a very young age and I’m excited by the opportunity to play my part in shaping the future of something that means so much to so many,” she said.

Kate Tinsley, independent non-executive FA Director and chair of the selection panel, added: “This is an excellent appointment for the FA and English football in general.

“Debbie was the outstanding candidate from a talented and experienced field.

“She immediately demonstrated her passion and ability to positively influence the direction of the FA on a domestic and global stage, providing strong and principled leadership along the way.”