SGSA Board Members

Derek Wilson – Chair

Derek has been a specialist sports architect for 30 years, shaped from an early stage by his passion for sport. His career in stadium design and Olympics and Paralympics forged his special interests in safety, accessibility and major events.

Derek’s knowledge spans private and public sector roles, having owned and run successful architectural practices, and as a Board member of the FLA/SGSA.  Beyond this he has worked internationally including Australia, Malaysia, Japan, the Middle East, Europe and the USA.

He has also worked on five Olympic and Paralympic games since Sydney 2000, including helping bring the 2012 Olympics to London, going on to be the Head of Design and Overlay for London 2012. Additionally, he brings operations experience from being part of the team that delivered 9 NFL Super Bowls.

As well as his previous tenure on the SGSA Board, Derek has contributed to numerous standards and safety guidance.

Dr Rimla Akhtar OBE

Dr Rimla Akhtar OBE is that rare individual who has lived global business and elite sport.  In 2014, she became the first Muslim and Asian woman on the FA Council in addition to her role on the Inclusion Advisory Board at the FA. In 2021 she was awarded an OBE for her contribution to equality and diversity in sport.  This followed being awarded an MBE for her work in 2015.  Her strategic and boardroom roles extend to her recent appointment as an Independent Director of the Sports Ground Safety Authority, Independent Director and Trustee of Kick It Out, and Council member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

She is a developer, communicator and strategist best known for her work as an Inclusion and Diversity specialist in sport, which led to her being ranked 14th in the 2018 Forbes global list of the Most Powerful Women in Sport.  Rimla has over 18 years’ experience in the sports industry across the UK, Middle East and Asia as well as a number of accolades to her name.

Whilst carving out a successful career in the city at leading global professional services firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Rimla also captained Britain in Futsal competitions.  She is Founder of the leading global sport development consultancy, RimJhim Consulting, and, as Chair of the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation, she has led the organisation to one with a distinct reputation nationally and internationally for its extensive work in the field of women’s sport.

As a unique individual within the sports industry, she now shares her time between writing, speaking, mentoring, practical and strategic consultancy and campaigns.  She independently advises and leads projects with governments, advocacy organisations, national and international sports bodies and community groups.  Rimla is a sought-after speaker and commentator who communicates with quiet humility, practicality and passion.

Janet Johnson

Janet Johnson is a chartered town planner by background, having specialised in regeneration and economic development in the North East of England. In a local government career spanning almost 40 years, Janet has enjoyed senior management positions for a number of councils.

She is an experienced board member, having served on the boards of a number of organisations in the education and development sectors. In addition to being a specialist in regeneration Janet is experienced in modernising local government, managing change and driving service improvement.

Janet was Chief Executive of District of Easington Council from 2004 to 2009 before moving to Sunderland City Council as Deputy Chief Executive where she led the Council’s major regeneration programme.

Susan Johnson OBE

Susan was formerly the Chief Executive at County Durham and Darlington Fire & Rescue Service. Her appointment in 2005 meant she was the first woman and non-uniformed chief executive to lead a fire and rescue service in the United Kingdom.

Susan holds a first-class honours degree in Business Studies and an MBA from Durham University and has previously held a senior position in the Regional Development Agency for Yorkshire and Humber following a career in international marketing in the information technology sector. Susan has held a number of non-executive and trustee roles in the private, public and not for profit sectors including Greggs plc, Legacy Trust UK and Durham University. She is also a Commissioner at the Equality and Human Rights Commission and a Non Executive Director of the Planning Inspectorate and the Health and Safety Executive.

Philip Kolvin QC

Philip is Head of Cornerstone Barristers specialising in licensing, planning, property and regulatory law and was appointed as Queen’s Counsel in 2009 and a Recorder of the Crown Court in 2018.

He is a Patron and past Chairman of the Institute of Licensing and was Chair of Purple Flag, a national scheme promoting safe and diverse night time economies and of Best Bar None, a national scheme for the accreditation of safe bars.

Philip acted as a co-opted expert to the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 for the Olympic Games, dealing with licensing issues, and is the past Chair of the Night Time Commission for London. He is the author and editor of a number of textbooks in the field of regulatory law.

David Mackinnon

David is Regional Head of Operations for Jockey Club Racecourses South West Region, incorporating Cheltenham, Exeter, Warwick and Wincanton racecourses and has sucessfully delivered a £45m development at Cheltenham racecourse. David has enjoyed success as Managing Director at both Windsor and Sandown Park Racecourses and prior to that worked at the sport’s regulatory body (then the Jockey Club) as deputy manager of the Racecourse Department and also spent three years as a trainee chartered accountant with Coopers and Lybrand following the completion of his degree in International Agribusiness Management.

Jil Matheson

Jil Matheson served as National Statistician, Head of the Government Statistical Service and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority from 2009 until her retirement in 2014. Jil chaired the OECD’s Committee on Statistics and Statistical Policy and the UN Statistical Commission. She is a Trustee of NatCen Social Research, a member of Council of the Academy of Social Sciences, a member of the Royal Society’s Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education, and a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.

Jane Sawyers

Jane is a visiting Professor at Staffordshire University (2018-). Prior to this she was Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police (2014-2017) and Deputy Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police (2013-2014). Since 2015 Jane has been a Trustee of The Police Arboretum Memorial Trust and in 2017 she was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal.