John Steele

John Steele


  • Executive Director of Sport

John Steele is Exective Director of Sport at Loughborough, and is based in the Sports Development Centre.

John Steele has a unique blend of experience in creating and leading high performing teams, developed as a professional sports coach and Chief Executive in the private, public, and not for profit sectors.

He served as an army officer having been trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to lead teams in high pressure environments. On leaving the army he worked as a chartered surveyor in the corporate world before becoming a professional rugby player.

His playing career spanned over 400 first class matches, and included representative honors against the New Zealand All blacks, Australian Wallabies and South African Springboks. When John finished his playing career he turned to coaching and successfully led Northampton Saints to become European Champions. He became Executive Director on the Saints Board during a period of unprecedented off field growth including a share issue and stadium development.

John’s experience in rugby union also saw him serve on the England Rugby Board during the successful world cup campaign of 2003 and be appointed as CEO of the Rugby football Union.

The winning of the bid for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics saw John take up post as CEO of UK Sport, the organisation tasked with developing the UKs high performance sport system, which he successfully led for a six-year period through the Beijing and into the London Games.  He has had other CEO roles with the Youth Sport Trust and Rugby Football Union as well as various leadership roles in nine Olympic and Paralympic Games.  He has been a non-executive director on eight different boards, including Chair of the English Institute of Sport.

John is now Executive Director of Sport at Loughborough University, Chair designate for Commonwealth Games England and owns a leadership development consultancy 'Unforgiving Minute'.

John was awarded an OBE for Services To Sport in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021.