A Recruitment Drive to Revolutionise Welsh Football


Acorn partners with the Football Association of Wales (FAW) to appoint its first Independent Non-Executive Directors and Chair of the Board in a governing structure shakeup.


The Football Association of Wales (FAW) appointed its first independent Chair of the Board and two Non-Executive Directors with the support of Acorn’s Executive Search division, following a significant overhaul of its structure.

The new appointments will be key drivers in fulfilling the FAW’s “More than a Game” strategy objectives for the 2015-2020 period - an ambitious plan to advance its current set up and align with FIFA, UEFA and stakeholder expectations.

Acorn is recognised for strengthening boards, placing sought-after professionals into senior management and board level roles within a diverse range of companies from blue-chip organisations to owner-managed businesses, SMEs and the public sector.

The important governance reforms and restructure, which led to the creation of FAW Executive Board, modernises and streamlines the way in which decisions are made on Welsh football and FAW business matters. Acorn Executive Search was engaged to undertake a full search and selection campaign, to identify the best candidates for these new roles, leading to the appointment of Independent Chair Steve Dalton, and Independent Directors Dr Carol Bell and Tim Naylor.

Steve Dalton’s primary role as the Independent Chair is to secure good corporate governance for the association, whilst ensuring the Executive Board is in full control of the company’s affairs. Dr Carol Bell and Tim Naylor will bring independence, impartiality and diverse experience to the Executive Board.

The Football Association of Wales Chief Executive, Jonathan Ford said, “I am very pleased to announce the progressive changes we are making to develop and invest in our game in Wales. The significant advancements to the FAW’s governance structure will ensure decisions are made with the association’s shareholders in mind, which further aligns the FAW more effectively with the structures of FIFA and UEFA”.

Director for Acorn’s Executive Search Division, Jan Hughes said:

‘‘We know how challenging it can be to find the perfect fit for board level roles, and we’re delighted to have placed the right people to support the FAW’s journey.

“Our head-hunt approach and digital marketing campaign yielded applications from passionate candidates of all backgrounds, and we are confident the new appointments will share the benefit of their experience in other fields with the FAW.’’




Steve Dalton OBE

Steve Dalton is a chartered director who has been employed as Managing Director of Sony UK Technology Centre in Pencoed since 2006. Having spent his entire career with Sony, joining the corporation in 1983 as an electronics graduate, Steve has been a key figure in creating and sustaining competitive operations for Sony UK in Wales. Steve has also continued to make significant impact at board level where he looks to focus on the delivery of business sustainability and good company governance, which has been witnessed in Steve’s previous role as FAW non-executive director since 2014. Steve’s further board experience includes; Welsh Government Industry Wales and Welsh Government Education Recovery and Welsh Assembly ICT sector panel member. Steve was awarded an OBE in 2010 for services to industry in Wales, in addition to holding honorary fellowships at Cardiff Metropolitan University, University of Glamorgan and Bridgend College.

Dr Carol Bell

Following a successful executive career in international investment banking and the oil and gas industry, Dr Carol Bell now divides her time between a portfolio career on public company boards, membership of charity boards in the education and cultural sectors and academic research in Archaeology. Originally from Felindre, Swansea, and a native Welsh speaker, Carol frequently appears on radio and television on Welsh and Economic matters. She is currently Vice President of National Museum Wales, Deputy Chair of the Wales Millennium Centre, a Director of the Development Bank of Wales (whose Investment Committee she chairs) and a member of the Council of Cardiff University. She holds honorary fellowships at Swansea University and the University of Wales Trinity St Davids.

Tim Naylor

Tim Naylor is a barrister and the Director of Integrity and Regulation at the British Horseracing Authority. Tim was previously a member of the panel of Independent Appeal Chairpersons of the FAW and still sits as a panellist on the RFU Disciplinary Panel. Tim grew up in Dinas Powys and Penarth in South Wales before studying at Harvard University in the US, later returning to work in finance in London and latterly to qualify as a barrister. He practiced at QEB Hollis Whiteman Chambers in London and Apex Chambers in Cardiff. He enjoyed a criminal and professional discipline practice with a specialism in sports regulation. He left the self-employed bar in 2017 to join the British Horseracing Authority as Head of Regulation before being made a Director.

‘‘We know how challenging it can be to find the perfect fit for board level roles, and we’re delighted to have placed the right people to support the FAW’s journey.
Jan Hughes
Director, Executive Search
Jan has been recruiting senior professionals into the workplace for more than 20 years. Having previously run her own accountancy recruitment business with a turnover of more than £2 million, Jan joined Acorn in 2016 to establish our Executive Search division, and now works on a search and selection basis to find the best candidates for the best roles.
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