The Board & Subcommittees
Commonwealth Games England is governed by a board of non-executive directors from backgrounds including sports, marketing and finance.
- Dame Denise Lewis
Dame Denise Lewis
Denise began her athletics career with Birchfield Harriers in Birmingham and is now regarded as one of England’s greatest-ever sportswomen. Denise is a huge advocate for the importance of the Commonwealth Games in an athlete’s career path, having won two Commonwealth gold medals at the 1994 Victoria and 1998 Kuala Lumpur Games. She went on to win gold at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and was awarded an OBE. In 2011, Denise was inducted into the England Athletics Hall Of Fame.
Denise joined the board in 2016 and plans to use her vast and influential experience at the highest level to inspire the next generation of athletes. In the 2023 New Year Honours, Denise was awarded a Damehood for her services to sport.
- John Steele OBE
John Steele OBE
John Steele became Chair of Commonwealth Games England in September 2022.
John has a background in sport that includes being a professional rugby player and European Cup winning coach. He is currently Executive Director of Sport at Loughborough University, and has recently completed his second term as Chair of the English Institute of Sport.
He has also held several Chief Executive roles including at UK Sport and the Youth Sport Trust.
- Simon Ball
Senior Independent Director
Simon Ball is the Senior Independent Director (SID) at Commonwealth Games England. He also serves as a non-executive director of the Organising Committee (OC) for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, where he chairs the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee.
He has previously served in a non-executive capacity as Chairman of Anchura Group, Deputy Chairman and SID at Cable and Wireless Communications plc (also Chair of Audit and Remuneration Committees), and on the boards of AIB Group plc, AIB Mortgage Bank, Tribal Group (Chair of Audit), Leica Geosystems AG (Chair of Audit) and most recently Morgan Stanley International.
Simon is a chartered accountant, whose executive career included roles on the boards of 3i Group plc (CFO), Robert Fleming Group (CFO) and Kleinwort Benson Ltd (CFO & COO), in addition to serving with HMG Department of Constitutional Affairs (as Director General Finance).
- Aimee Willmott
Non-Executive Director - Athlete Representative
Aimee Willmott, is a medley swimmer from Middlesborough.
As a Team England athlete, Aimee has appeared at three Commonwealth Games: Gold Coast 2018, Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014 and has three Commonwealth medals to her name.
In Glasgow 2014, Aimee won two silver medals in the 400m IM and the 200m butterfly.
At the Gold Coast, Aimee was a Team England ambassador and she won gold in the Women's 200m Individual Medley.
She has also followed in her father's footsteps represented GB at the Olympic Games (Rio 2016 and London 2012).
Aimee currently trains at the University of Stirling. She also runs a business called Willmottswimskills where she imparts her knowledge of swimming to other swimmers across the country.
- Ali Jawad MBE
Ali Jawad MBE
Non-Executive Director - Athlete Representative
Ali Jawad, 29, was born in Beruit and spent the first six months of his life in the Lebanon before moving to Tottenham where he grew up. As well as being a world level para-powerlifter Ali also competed as an international judoka early in his sporting journey.
Ali’s career highlights include bronze medals at the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games, becoming world champion in 2014 and winning a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympics Games.
Away from sport Ali is a high profile ambassador for the charity Crohns and Colitis UK.
- Dame Caroline Spelman DBE
Dame Caroline Spelman DBE
Dame Caroline Spelman comes to Commonwealth Games England with an impressive history as a politician and public servant. She spent her early career with the National Farmers Union and was first elected as the Member of Parliament for the Meriden Constituency in 1997. She served the West Midlands constituency for over 20 years.
Dame Caroline has held varied and prominent Ministerial positions, including serving as Secretary of State for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
Dame Caroline is passionate about sports. She is a former junior athlete in the discus throw and county hockey player and continues to play hockey with the Lords and Common’s team. Her eldest son is a professional rugby player for Bedford and her youngest son has been living in Australia. Her husband, Mark, is a former non-executive director of Sport England and currently sits on the board of Harlequins Rugby Football Club.
- David Ellis
David Ellis is a Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Commercial and Communications Committee.
After an early career in technology, David served as Group Business Development and Marketing Director Catalyst Housing Group, a social housing trust spanning London and the Southeast. He then joined Premiership Rugby Club, Harlequins, in 2011 as Chief Executive where he served for almost 9 years.
Currently he is Chief Executive and founder of Maikai Group, an impact agency focussed on enabling business and sports brands to deliver meaningful change/results against the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
- Dawn Newbery
Dawn joined the Board in May 2015 bringing with her over 20 years para sport experience and leading teams at six Paralympic Games (Barcelona 1992 to London 2012).
Dawn has worked with five World Number 1’s (senior and youth) and travelled extensively on the ITF wheelchair tennis circuit as coaching and management staff (men, women, juniors) from small development competitions through the ITF Grand Slam Events.
Since 2008 Dawn has worked with the GB wheelchair fencing programme and GB Goalball (the Paralympic Team Sport for the visually impaired). Dawn brings a unique blend of skills to the Board and in a multi-sport background clearly thrives.
- Delia Bushell
Delia Bushell is a media executive with over 20 years’ experience in media, sport, telecoms and strategy consulting. For the past three years she was Managing Director of BT Sport & BT TV, leading BT’s Sport channels, its PayTV platform and the acquisition of premium sports, entertainment & movie rights.
Prior to this, Delia spent 14 years at Sky in a variety of different role, including as Chief Commercial Officer of Sky Italia, Director of Broadband & Telephony for Sky UK, as Managing Director for Sky Ireland, and as Commercial Director for Sky Networks. Before joining Sky, she spent four years as a strategy consultant and at Pearson plc, and she holds an MA in Modern History and an MPhil in International Relations from Oxford University. She has three daughters and is passionate about encouraging female participation in sport.
- Diane Modahl MBE
Diane Modahl MBE
Diane Modahl is founder and CEO of the Diane Modahl Sports Foundation (DMSF), a registered charity and youth foundation that supports young people from disadvantaged communities in the North West to excel through the power of sport in education and employability.
As an athlete, Diane Modahl is one of Britain’s most successful 800m runners, taking a clean sweep of gold, silver and bronze at three Commonwealth Games (1986, 1990 and 1998) and competed at four Olympic Games. She was unbeaten by any other British athlete over six consecutive seasons and held the English, British and Commonwealth records for both 800m and 600m.
- Sharjeel Suleman
Sharjeel joins the Board as chair of Commonwealth Games England’s Audit and Finance Committee. Sharjeel brings expertise in financial & cash management as well as strong understanding of working in the creative sector.
A keen cricketer he is never happier than when playing cricket for his local village club, having played cricket for both UCL London and Churchill College. During his 17 year stint at ITV, Sharjeel has been the Director of Group Finance, as well as Director of Investor Relations for ITV. Sharjeel is currently the Chief Financial Officer for ITV Studios - the global production and distribution division of ITV with 60 production companies in 13 countries making award-winning, globally recognised shows including Line of Duty, Bodyguard, Love Island, I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here and The Voice.
- Paul Blanchard
Paul has 25 years’ experience in the sports industry. He has worked in Cricket at The Oval, in Premier League and Scottish Football and also the NFL in Europe.
Most recently he was CEO at Harlequins Rugby League and prior to joining Commonwealth Games England was CEO at The Surrey Sports Park, an elite athlete training and event venue based at The University of Surrey.
He has also served on the Advisory Board of British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) and was Chair of The County Sports Partnership, Active Surrey.
Paul joined Commonwealth Games England in August 2015.