Brian Facer to step down as British Cycling chief executive

Brian Facer is to step down as chief executive of British Cycling three weeks after the announcement of a controversial new partnership with Shell UK.

A statement from the national governing body said the decision had been reached by mutual agreement with the board, with Cycling Delivery director Danielle Every appointed as acting CEO while a replacement is found.

The PA news agency understands the news will have no bearing on British Cycling’s commitment to the eight-year deal with Shell, which was announced on October 10.

A statement from British Cycling chair Frank Slevin said: “We remain fully committed to the delivery of our ‘Lead our sport, inspire our communities’ strategy, as we continue our work to support and grow our sport and wider activities, and provide our Great Britain Cycling Team riders with the best possible platform for success.

“Our new CEO will join the organisation at an exciting time as we build towards next year’s inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships in Scotland, and the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024.”

British Cycling faced a huge backlash to the announcement of the deal with Shell, the latest in a series of controversies to have hit the organisation this year.

In April it suspended its transgender policy after world governing body the UCI had stepped in to bar Emily Bridges from competing at the National Omnium Championships the previous week.

Trans and non-binary athletes are still barred from competition pending the outcome of a review which remains ongoing six months later.

Last month, British Cycling was forced to apologise after initially issuing guidance suggesting people should not ride their bikes during the Queen’s funeral.

The latest outcry followed the announcement of the Shell partnership – which provoked a backlash on social media and led a significant number of the organisation’s already declining membership to say they would either cancel or allow their subscriptions to lapse.

Several members of staff have been left unhappy by the deal, which they feel has tarnished British Cycling’s reputation.

Facer joined British Cycling in January 2021 from a similar role with London Irish rugby club, having previously been commercial director with Northampton Saints.

It was hoped his background as a commercial director would help British Cycling at a time when it was seeking a new title sponsor – HSBC announced in early 2020 it would leave its eight-year deal midway through, albeit extending it by 12 months due to the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics.

But no replacement has been found – even the controversial Shell deal does not fully cover the lost funding as British Cycling looks to attract several partners at a lower level rather than rely on one title sponsor.

British Cycling said the deal with Shell would allow it to use the company’s expertise to move closer to its target of net zero, but it was nevertheless strongly criticised by several environmental groups, who branded it as “sportswashing”.