Badminton Scotland has appointed vastly experienced and highly respected sports administrator Keith Russell as its interim chief executive.
A key figure in steering Glasgow Life through the bid process for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, then delivering its sporting legacy and subsequently the bid team which won the right for Glasgow to host the World Badminton Championship in 2017, Russell was previously head of sport and leisure at Stirling Council as it developed its sports village concept at the city’s Forthbank, while setting up the Active Stirling organisation.
More recently, following a stint as director of domestic rugby at Scottish Rugby, he gained further valuable experience as interim chief executive at Snowsport Scotland while they were waiting for their new chief executive to arrive from New Zealand.
Russell’s first job having been as national junior badminton coach in Sri Lanka in the eighties he is a member of something of a sporting dynasty since his son Finn is the Scotland rugby team’s current first choice stand off and his older brother Bruce is a former Scotland cricket captain, but is returning to his sporting roots.
Both parents, Marjory and Alastair, were senior badminton internationalists, while Keith and both his older brothers, Bruce and Stewart, all represented Scotland at badminton at junior level and Finn is also a keen player who took on a role as an ambassador for those World Badminton Championships last year.
He takes charge at an important time for Badminton Scotland as it adjusts to its first major change of leadership in almost four decades following the recent retirement of Anne Smillie who had been the longest serving chief executive at a sports governing body in the UK.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with Badminton Scotland,” said Russell.
“It is a sport that I have had a very long personal and professional relationship with and I am looking forward to progressing a range of immediate and longer term matters.
“Badminton is a sport that has huge potential in Scotland and great people that are passionate about the sport.”
During his time at Glasgow Life Russell was also instrumental in working with Badminton Scotland to upgrade its globally renowned annual international tournament to a new level as the Scottish Open Grand Prix which, staged at The Emirates Arena, is regarded as one of the best events on the circuit and his close understanding of the sport will be invaluable during this transitional period as Badminton Scotland chairperson Ronnie Conway acknowledged.
“Life goes on and we are facing some urgent challenges and decisions at Badminton Scotland,” said Conway.
“We are delighted to have obtained the services of such a prominent and highly regarded figure with strong connections to our sport."