England Netball has today announced two senior appointments that will support the organisation’s long-term vision to professionalise the sport. Following a search led by the Executives in Sport Group, Claire Nelson has been confirmed as the new Managing Director of the Netball Super League (NSL) whilst Mark Foster will take up the role of Chief Commercial Officer.
Appointments conclude the search for two senior hires that will bolster the England Netball Executive Team and also support the organisation as it journeys towards professionalisation.
Claire joins with 15 years’ experience working across the sports and marketing sectors. Currently the Group Chief Executive Officer for Netball Scotland and NSL Club Strathclyde Sirens, Claire has been instrumental in transforming netball in Scotland, setting new standards for the sport and delivering industry-leading results. Specialising in commercial strategy, brand, marketing, and partnership acquisition and activation, her remit as the NSL’s first-ever Managing Director will see her work closely with the NSL clubs to strategically leverage the status and reputation of the domestic league, and take it to new heights of visibility and influence.
Incoming Chief Commercial Officer Mark Foster joins England Netball from the Rugby Football League (RFL) where he currently holds the role of Chief Commercial Officer. With more than 15 years’ experience in commercial, marketing, digital and broadcast leadership within Rugby, Cricket and Football, Mark has an exceptional track record of commercial success and will be responsible for driving revenue and audience growth across England Netball and Netball Super League properties through the building and fostering of authentic partnerships. Upon commencement of the role, Mark will assume overall responsibility for all commercial, marketing and communications functions at England Netball.
Speaking on the appointments, Chief Executive of England Netball Fran Connolly said: “I’m delighted that Claire and Mark will be joining us in these critically important roles as we look ahead to an exciting period for the sport.
“They are both highly respected leaders in their fields and will bring a wealth of experience that will help us to realise our ambitions around professionalising the game whilst also supporting us in delivering the vision that we set out in our Adventure Strategy.
“Working closely together, they will look to transform their respected areas to ensure that we are perfectly placed to capitalise on the unprecedented, and continued growth within women’s sport.
“I very much look forward to working more closely with Claire who is already an extremely influential figure within our sport, and to welcoming Mark who has exceptional pedigree from the world of commercial sport to netball.”
Mark will join England Netball in May, with Claire joining shortly after, upon conclusion of the current NSL season at the beginning of June.
Speaking about their new role, Claire Nelson commented: “I am both thrilled and honoured to be appointed as the new Managing Director for the Netball Super League.
“The opportunity to lead the professionalisation of netball at a time when women’s sport is on a significant growth trajectory is one that I am ready to seize with both hands as we unleash our full power and potential on and off the court.
“I have a strong vision for the future of our sport and am committed to ensuring that we build not only the best elite netball league in the world but also the most inspiring, impactful and engaging women’s sports brand in the UK.
“I am looking forward to getting started and to working with our amazing Netball Family as we embark on this exciting new journey in our sport.”
Mark Foster, who sits on the Board for UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) added: “I am looking forward to joining England Netball at what is such an exciting time. Sport has the power to change lives and women’s sport is growing rapidly.
“I have watched with admiration the development of Netball and have always appreciated the athleticism and approachability of the players. The launch of NETBALLHer, the Netball World Cup and the aim to fully professionalise the sport are all huge opportunities.
“In a busy world, sport needs to be entertaining and relevant – we need to offer amazing experiences. I am really looking forward to working with the team at England Netball to ensure we are passionate, innovative and creative and I hope to use my experience from senior commercial and marketing roles in elite sport to help Netball achieve the growth it desires and deserves.”