UK Athletics rehire their former events director Cherry Alexander in a surprise U-turn


UK Athletics reappoint their former events director Cherry Alexander in a surprise U-turn by crisis-hit organisation’s new regime, after her exit under previous CEO Joanna Coates following 30 years of service

  • Cherry Alexander has been reappointed by the new UK Athletics regime 
  • She left last November under former CEO Joanna Coates, after 30 years at UKA 
  • The move has been privately interpreted as an effort to correct the mistake 
  • UKA have been gripped in crisis after Coates and Sara Symington both resigned


The new regime at UK Athletics have pulled a u-turn by rehiring one of the key members of staff who departed under the previous CEO Joanna Coates.

In a move that has been privately interpreted as an effort to correct a mistake, events director Cherry Alexander has been reappointed by the interim CEO Mark Munro and chair Ian Beattie just one year after she departed.

Her exit last November after 30 years at UKA was held up as a blunder on the part of Coates, who herself left the organisation in October. 

The new regime at UK Athletics have pulled a U-turn by reappointing Cherry Alexander (above)

The new regime at UK Athletics have pulled a U-turn by reappointing Cherry Alexander (above)

Coates had been moving UKA away from event hosting and the return of Alexander will signal UKA’s attempts under new leadership to get back in the business of staging championships.

Katie Brazier, who was brought in by Coates after Alexander’s departure, will leave UKA before Christmas. 

UKA plummeted to a new low after the dramatic resignations of Coates and performance director Sara Symington.   

Alexander's exit after 30 years at UKA was held up as a blunder on the part of Joanna Coates

Alexander’s exit after 30 years at UKA was held up as a blunder on the part of Joanna Coates

UKA plummeted to a new low after the resignation of performance director Sara Symington

UKA plummeted to a new low after the resignation of performance director Sara Symington

Sportsmail understands Coates walked out of the crisis-hit organisation following her participation in a fiery board meeting.

Coates, the former chief of England Netball, departed after less than two tumultuous years in the post. 

Following her appointment in March 2020, her reign has been plagued by in-fighting and characterised by unpopular decisions.

The recruitment of Symington, who will now take up a role as head of the Olympic and Paralympic Programme for British Cycling, has been hugely criticised, as she holds such a significant position despite not having a background in athletics. 

The decision to bring in the inexperienced Christian Malcolm as head coach was lambasted

The decision to bring in the inexperienced Christian Malcolm as head coach was lambasted

A number of leading British athletes told Sebastian Coe that the set-up was not fit for purpose

A number of leading British athletes told Sebastian Coe that the set-up was not fit for purpose

That was followed by the decision to bring in the inexperienced Christian Malcolm as head coach ahead of the strongly favoured Stephen Maguire.

The boiling point came at the Diamond League final in Zurich, when a number of Britain’s leading athletes told World Athletics president Sebastian Coe in the Crowne Plaza hotel that the current set-up was not fit for purpose. 

As revealed by Sportsmail, they expressed significant misgivings about the performance set-up on the back of Britain’s worst Olympics since 1996, and shared concerns about the wider governance of the Coates era.

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