North Lanarkshire Leisure has appointed Emma Walker to lead the organisation as its new general manager.
This comes after chief executive Blane Dodds announced last month he was quitting to take on a “fresh challenge” after 10 years at NL Leisure.
Emma was managing director of Town Centre Activities Ltd for more than a decade and, prior to that, worked within economic development at North Lanarkshire Council.
Originally from Belfast, she started her career in sports management with Belfast City Council and was responsible for organising many high-profile events.
A keen judo player she competed in three Commonwealth Games for Northern Ireland, and after moving to Scotland worked in sports development for Edinburgh Leisure.
She said: “It is positive to see the journey that North Lanarkshire Leisure has taken over the years in growing usage and getting more people more active more often.
“This success can only be achieved by a committed and motivated team and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to lead that team through an important period of transition.
“NL Leisure is already at the forefront of delivering sport, health and physical activity and I’m determined that we aspire to build on that success as we enter a new period of delivering public services on behalf of the council.”
Emma isn’t phased by NL Leisure having nearly £1 million cut from its annual management fee by the council in February’s budget..
She said: “There are budget challenges in the months and years ahead. But I’m confident that we can manage these challenges while minimising the impact on frontline services and staff.”
Councillor Barry McCulloch has been appointed as the new chairman of the NL Leisure board replacing Councillor Jim Logue who has become council leader.
He said: “As the new chair of NL Leisure, it gives me great pleasure to welcome Emma to her role. As she says, this is an important period for us. We must drive forward with our ambitions to increase access to some of the country’s leading facilities and together we must make a real difference to the health of people across North Lanarkshire.
“This is a hugely important strategic priority for NL Leisure and North Lanarkshire Council and I’m confident that, with Emma leading the way, we will be able to deliver on that priority. I very much look forward to working with her as we look to the future.”