Sports Recruitment, Executives in Sport
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Vitality Roses
case study

Executive Search

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    Executive Search

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    1 Senior Hire

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    Head of Research


Established in 1926, England Netball is currently in the throes of what is arguably the most successful period in its 90-year history. Over the last two years, the ‘Vitality Roses’ have secured notable victories over several of the sport’s most dominant nations, which culminated in the team taking Gold at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in 2018. 

As the team’s success on the court has continued so too has interest in the game itself, with the likes of BBC and SKY each choosing to broadcast the national netball team’s matches; thus, opening the game up to a wider audience.

The Challenge

The Vitality Roses saw a significant cut in the amount of funding it receives from Sport England, with further reductions to be introduced over time. This prompted the leadership team to commit to becoming more commercially focused and less dependent on grant funding. 

With a growing membership of girls and young women taking up the sport, the organisation recognised it could present itself as a really attractive proposition for potential corporate partners. In order to facilitate these new relationships and maximise the opportunities that were available, the Vitality Roses required a Commercial Director to drive this forward. 

The Solution

This was an entirely new role for the organisation, and a business-critical one given the reduced funding the body was to receive. The ideal candidate needed to be someone with proven and extensive experience securing commercial sponsorship and partnership deals within sport. We worked with the Vitality Roses to define a profile of the person that would be needed and then determined the most effective search strategy specific to that role.

The Executives In Sport team set about conducting a targeted search of the market, which involved researching those candidates with experience working in organisations who had faced similar challenges. We also accessed our global network of sporting executives to identify those individuals already known to us who we could approach on behalf of the Vitality Roses and ‘sell’ their opportunity.

Following a robust screening and assessment process, we presented the Vitality Roses with a shortlist of candidates that included professionals from different areas of sport and the broader media. This shortlist was delivered through our bespoke candidate portal which provided their executive team with CVs, behavioural profiling and videos where each candidate explained why they felt suited to the role and how they’d approach the first 90 days. 

The Result

We successfully secured a high calibre Commercial Director who had strong experience working in both Formula One teams and also major European football clubs. 

For the Vitality Roses it was essential that the ‘right’ appointment was made; after all, the impact this person was expected to have on the organisation as a whole could not be understated. At time of writing, the successful individual remains in situ some two years later and has driven some of the most innovative commercial partnership deals in sport.

We were spoilt for choice when it came to the standard of candidates that The Executives in Sport Group presented to us. We were particularly impressed with their video profiling technology that meant we received not only each candidate’s CV but also a short video where candidates talked in more detail about their skills and experience. This made the decision-making process significantly easier and sat in on our interview process and added real value.

Joanna Adams, Chief Executive, Vitality Roses / England Netball



  • Commercial Director



Commercial Director,
National Governing Body

I thought recruitment agencies were all the same but The Executives In Sport Group proved me wrong. They are warm, professional and genuine. They really cared about my needs and what I was looking for. I’m over the moon with my new role.


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