Brands & Sponsorship, Governance & Commercial Growth, Leaders Podcast, Sport Business | Sep 7, 2018
Episode 43: The FA CEO on organisational transformation.

As a FIFA World Cup summer segues into a UEFA Nations League autumn, FA CEO Martin Glenn sat down with Leaders CEO Jimmy Worrall for a conversation on business, leadership, organisational culture and, of course, football. (Interview begins at 13 mins 30 seconds).

Glenn was appointed as CEO of English football’s governing body in March 2015. He was hired away from United Biscuits, where he had been CEO, marshalling the McVitie’s and Jacob’s brands. Glenn made a name for himself in business in the 1990s while working for PepsiCo as he masterminded the reinvigoration of the Walkers crisps brand, lifting market share from the mid-20s to over 60% through product tweaks, organisational change, and brand transformation. He has held senior or leadership positions at Walkers, Birdseye, Cadbury, Mars, and Deloitte.

His appointment to the newly created role in 2015 was seen as a little left-field, but Glenn did have a background in football too, as a board member at Leicester City and having gained a coaching badge in 2003.

At the FA, Glenn oversees an organisation with varied set of responsibilities: from running all 24 England national football teams, to governance, rule-setting and policing, through to promotion and commercialisation, via the owning and running of Wembley Stadium in London.

On the conversational agenda:

– Glenn’s mission to bring about transformation at the FA;

– The unique challenges of sport’s stakeholder-led organisations;

– Changing things first to change perceptions second and other lessons from the business of crisps;

– The challenges associated with streamlining an organisation;

– The FA vision to unite the game to inspire the nation;

– Pressing the reset button with the media, cap accumulation, and other tactics for building resilient tournament players;

– The potential Wembley stadium sale.

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