Deborah Jevans, CBE, will succeed Ian Hewitt as Chair at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, following the conclusion of The Championships 2023.
Debbie has a valuable combination of skills and experience gained over a long career in sport, both as a former professional tennis player and through a number of leadership roles within high-profile sports organisations, as well as her many years of service on the Club Committee. This equips her well for the role and I look forward, as planned, to handing over as chair after The Championships 2023, and wish Debbie all success as we continue with our ambitions. Ian Hewitt, Chairman, AELTC
The Club announced the election of Jevans as Vice-Chair on Thursday following its annual general meeting.
Hewitt, aged 75, notified colleagues on the Club Committee prior to The Championships 2022 of his intention to stand down after The Championships 2023, and Jevans will therefore take over the role in July.
“Debbie has a valuable combination of skills and experience gained over a long career in sport, both as a former professional tennis player and through a number of leadership roles within high-profile sports organisations, as well as her many years of service on the Club Committee,” said Hewitt.
“This equips her well for the role and I look forward, as planned, to handing over as chair after The Championships 2023, and wish Debbie all success as we continue with our ambitions.”
During Hewitt’s tenure, which began in December 2019, he led the appointment of Sally Bolton as Chief Executive in 2020, and guided the organisation through the complexities of the COVID pandemic, including the cancellation of The Championships 2020, the restricted capacity event in 2021, and the return to full spectator capacity in 2022.
He also faced the challenges resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which led to the Club opting to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing at Wimbledon last year.
The decision led to the tournament being fined and stripped of ranking points, and drew criticism from IOC President Thomas Bach, who said last month that ‘Governments should not decide on political grounds who is participating at which sporting events’.
Play on the Middle Sunday of The Championships was introduced in 2022, while long-term renewals have been secured with broadcast partners BBC and ESPN, and significant agreements concluded with new official commercial partners Vodafone and Barclays.
Around the Estate, the state-of-the-art Indoor Tennis Centre has been completed, and the planning application for the Club’s Wimbledon Park Project, integrating major enhancements for The Championships and the Qualifying event with significant community benefits, has been submitted and is expected for decision over the coming months.
Hewitt’s tenure has also seen the continued growth of the Wimbledon Foundation and, in 2022, the celebration of 100 years of Centre Court at the Club’s Church Road Grounds.
Jevans, aged 62, who currently chairs the Food & Drink, Royal Box and Staff Committees, and serves on the Professional Tennis, Courts, Commercial and Marketing, Estate and Master Plan Committees. will become the first female chair of the AELTC.
A former professional tennis player, Jevans has held several high-level leadership positions in sports business, and significant roles have included as Director of Women’s Tennis at the ITF, Director of Sport for the Olympic Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, CEO of England Rugby 2015, Vice-Chair of Sport England, senior independent non-executive director of the English Football League (2014 to present, including Executive Chair 2018-2019).
She is also a trustee of the Invictus Games Foundation and EFL Trust, and was awarded the CBE in 2013.
During her playing career, Jevans, who is a former junior Wimbledon champion, represented Great Britain at junior and senior level, including in the Maureen Connolly Cup and Wightman Cup.
Turning professional in 1976, she competed in the singles main draws at Roland-Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open, and she reached the last 16 in singles and last 8 in mixed doubles at Wimbledon.
She has been a member of the AELTC since 1996, and has served on the Club Committee from 2004 to 2014, and then again from 2016 to the present day.