John Steele Chairman English Institute of Sport

Talks about  Culture, Leadership, Purpose, Resilience, Transformation
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John Steele
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John has a unique blend of experience in creating and leading high performing teams, developed as a professional sports coach and as Chief Executive in the private, public, and charitable sectors.

He served as an army officer having been trained at the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to lead teams in high pressure environments. On leaving the army he worked in the corporate world before becoming a professional rugby player. On finishing his playing career, John turned to coaching and successfully led Northampton Saints to become European Champions. Johns experience in rugby union also saw him serve on the England Rugby Board during the successful world cup campaign of 2003 and be appointed as CEO of the Rugby football Union.

The winning of the bid for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics saw John take up post as CEO of UK Sport, the organisation tasked with developing the high performance sport system and delivering medal success for Team GB. His tenure through the Beijing and lead into the London Games saw unprecedented results for Team GB.

During his time at UK Sport, John faced a different more personal challenge when he was diagnosed and successfully treated for throat cancer.

With the nations sporting focus switching to an Olympic legacy for “an inspired generation”, John took up his current post as Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust.  He is also Chair of the English Institute of Sport.



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Profiling High Performance


"John is an exceptional sports leader... he brings focus, commitment and passion to the cause of elite performance." Lord Sebastian Coe

“John was a fantastic speaker. His passion, humour and humility were inspiring and his presentation was the perfect way to end our event., John’s session has a weighted average of 4.6 out of .Thanks again for helping us find John. It was a great decision on our part.” Al Meyer, Director Internal Comms, Abcam

"John came to speak to 100 staff within my area who range in age and experience from new graduates to Partners of many years' standing.  He instantly gripped the attention of everyone and his talk was truly inspirational.  The next day I had staff telling me how they were going to use his advice in their day jobs and every single one of them said they had found it to be one of the best motivational talks they had ever had.  John speaks with humility but is clearly exceptional in his ability to identify the root causes of problems, develop a solution to addressing them and ensuring that the solution is used in practice." Fiona Fry, Partner, KPMG