Sport England nabs BBC's Warty to oversee policy

Sport England, the government body charged with getting the nation more physically active, has poached the BBC's high-flying strategist Mihir Warty to be director of policy and performance.

Warty joins Sport England on 7 August, overseeing a 24-strong team. A spokeswoman said the role involved ‘policy development through liaison with relevant government departments, as well as with stakeholders from across the sports sector and related policy areas such as health and regeneration’.

He will report to Sport England’s chief executive, a job currently held on an interim basis by Stephen Baddeley.

Warty arrived at the BBC in 2001, having been a consultant with accountancy firm Arthur Anderson. He worked on the broadcaster’s launch of digital terrestrial service Freeview until 2003, when he was made head of strategy for BBC Sport, where he led the case for broadcasting sport in the corporation’s Charter Review.

For the past six months, he has been head of strategy for the BBC’s strategic projects team, where he has driven its plans for mobile content.

The Sport England policy chief position was held previously by Ian Fytche, who quit in December 2005 to become chief executive of North Kesteven District Council in Lincolnshire. Tim Garfield, director of sport for the East Midlands, has since been acting in the role.

Warty’s hire comes at a turbulent time for Sport England. Its chief executive Roger Draper defected to the Lawn Tennis Association earlier this year, while the body’s chairman, Lord Patrick Carter, has announced that he is to step down in October.

The hire follows the appointment of Financial Dynamics on a three-year contract to provide corporate comms support.

Sport England operates nine regional offices, each charged with developing grassroots initiatives.

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