New CEO for Surrey Sports Park
09 December 2010
The University of Surrey is pleased to announce the appointment of Paul Blanchard as CEO of its flagship Surrey Sports Park. He will have overall responsibility for the leadership and commercial development of this important sporting facility as well as for building relationships with corporate partners and regional stakeholders. He will take up his position early in 2011.
The £36 million Surrey Sports Park which is owned by the University opened in spring 2010. It has already hosted top flight sporting fixtures such as the Women's Rugby World Cup and has been selected as an Olympic training facility for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Paul has worked in a variety of leadership roles, most recently as Chief Executive of Harlequins Rugby League where he was in overall charge of the club's operation, driving up commercial revenue and attendance as well as introducing new ventures such as a Charitable Trust. As Chief Executive of Hull Kingston Rovers Paul was closely involved in the development of the East Hull sports strategy and managed overall operations, securing a new training facility for the club.
He is well known to locals within Surrey from his stint with Surrey County Cricket Club between 2004 and 2008 as Sales and Marketing Director where he was responsible for the significant commercial expansion of the club during this period. His responsibilities included the successful commercialisation of the stadium redevelopment, the launch Oval Events, the club's joint venture with Compass Group and negotiating the largest domestic cricket sponsorship deal in Surrey's history.
Paul will have full responsibility for the running of Surrey Sports Park and will report to the University's Director of Corporate Services and Chairman of Surrey Sports Park, Greg Melly. Commenting on his appointment Paul said: "The Surrey Sports Park is a fantastic facility and offers almost unlimited potential for development. With a calendar of major events and a need for elite teams and athletes to train, develop and prepare, there is a significant opportunity for the Park to be at the centre of this. Coupled with the servicing and support of students, staff, members and partners this is a unique and very exciting opportunity. I am very much looking forward to joining shortly."
Welcoming the appointment, Greg Melly, Director of Corporate Services at the University of Surrey, said: "This is a very important appointment for the University. We are delighted to have Paul join us to help us to take the Surrey Sports Park to new heights as we enter the run up to the Olympics in 2012 and to deliver a range of top-class sporting facilities and services not just to our staff and students, but to the county, region and beyond."
Spread across 80 acres of University land in Guildford, the Surrey Sports Park provides the region with unrivalled facilities to underpin and develop the sporting success of the area. The new centre is the best equipped venue in the South East boasting state-of-the-art facilities which include a 50 metre swimming pool, three multi-purpose sports halls, eight outdoor floodlit tennis courts, two floodlit artificial grass pitches, a 100 station health and fitness suite and a 350-seat cafe and social area.