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Lord Elis-Thomas AM, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport

First published:
4 June 2018
Last updated:

I would like to inform Members of appointments I have made to the Board of Sport Wales, following an open recruitment process which attracted over 40 candidates.  

I have appointed Lawrence Conway as Chair of Sport Wales.  Lawrence has served as Interim Chair of Sport Wales since February 2017 and has provided renewed confidence and a stable platform to the organisation.  Lawrence will continue to implement and embed the recommendations of the Ministerial Review into Sport Wales, with the utmost of professionalism and enthusiasm.

I have made four further appointments to the board, as several members have come to the end of their terms. I am grateful to those out-going members for their service. The new members are Judi Rhys, Professor Leigh Robinson, Martin Veale and Phil Tilley. Together; they bring a wealth of experience throughout the sporting arena and across sectors.

I am grateful to the new members for accepting the invitation to serve on the Board. The Chair and new members will commence their term of office on 1 September for a three year period.

I am confident that the board has the expertise and experience required to support me and the staff of Sport Wales in taking forward our ambitions for a more inclusive and healthy nation.  I look forward to working with them.



Lawrence Conway

Lawrence was born and raised in Cardiff and is married with four children. He joined the civil service in 1968 and had various roles within the Welsh Office, including a secondment to Cardiff Bay Development Corporation in the early 1990s as Assistant to the Chief Executive. Following that appointment Lawrence headed the Welsh Office division of sponsored arms-length bodies including the Welsh Development Agency. He became head of the Cabinet Secretariat and First Minister’s Department in 1998 and held that post until his retirement in 2010.  Lawrence was awarded the Companion of the Bath in 2012.  He has served as Interim Chair of Sport Wales since February 2017.   Sport has always been an important part of Lawrence’s life, and since joining Sport Wales over year ago he has seen the direct impact physical health and the wider benefits of sport can have across Wales’ diverse sporting landscape.



Board Members

Judi Rhys

Judi has a background in health, education and social welfare and initially worked in the NHS as a health promotion specialist in the south Wales Valleys. She was a staff tutor at the Open University and an academic staff manager at Cardiff University, before appointment as Director of Diabetes UK Cymru, then as Director of MS Society Cymru, and subsequently UK Director of Operations at MS Society.  Judi has held Chief Executive roles at the charities Arthritis Care and the British Liver Trust.  She is a non-executive director of Public Health Wales and has postgraduate qualifications in health promotion, management, education and executive coaching. Judi achieved an ACEVO Fellowship award in 2015.  Judi was born and raised in south Wales and now lives in Cardiff. A keen amateur sportswoman, she has previously competed in equestrianism, hockey and swimming and is now an enthusiastic long distance runner.

Professor Leigh Robinson

Professor Leigh Robinson is a Professor of Sport Management and the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Cyncoed) and Executive Dean of the School of Sport and Health Sciences at Cardiff Metropolitan University. She has a global reputation for her research and knowledge exchange in the development of competitive advantage and governance in developing sport nations. She has worked with a range of organisations, such as the International Olympic Committee, the British Olympic Association, Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee and the Malaysian Government, providing governance management training and consultancy. She is a member of the MEMOS network, a global network of academics responsible for delivering executive management education on behalf of the International Olympic Committee. Leigh has been a member of the Board of Commonwealth games Scotland and Sport Scotland and is an advisor to Olympic Solidarity, the education commission of the Olympic Committee on their management education programmes.

Martin Veale JP

Martin is an Independent Member at Velindre NHS Trust, a trustee of Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Trust, a governor at Coleg Gwent, and a governor at his daughter’s primary school. He also serves on the audit committees at Pembrokeshire County Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and Bristol Community Health. A serving magistrate, Martin sits on the Mid Wales bench.  Martin attended Ebbw Vale Grammar School, and holds a BA from East London and an MSc from Birmingham City universities. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and has the Institute of Internal Auditors’ Qualification in Internal Audit Leadership. His finance, risk and corporate governance career covered local government, the NHS and Welsh Government, before he joined Forestry Commission Wales as Director of Finance, and became Head of Audit and Risk on the formation of Natural Resources Wales.   Martin grew up in Ebbw Vale and now lives in Pontypridd with his wife and daughter. He is a supporter of Ebbw Vale rugby and Glamorgan cricket.

Phil Tilley

Phil has recently retired following a 25 year career in global high tech marketing. He has experience of leading global marketing teams and industry forums representing Nokia communications cloud strategy and solutions. He has been a lifelong sailor and is currently chair of selectors for UK youth racing as well as a committee member on the RYA participation and membership committee. Recently appointed a trustee for AllAfloat Wales, a new charity set up by RYA Cymru Wales to help make the sport available to anyone close to the water. He previously held positions on the UK youth racing committee and RYA Cymru Wales performance committee.  He went to college at the University college of North Wales in Bangor and has lived in Wales ever since. Now married with three daughters and living in Monmouthshire. As an active triathlete you will frequently see him, cycling running or swimming and enjoying the Welsh countryside.