Our Board

The EFL Trust Board of Directors is responsible for providing the organisation’s strategic direction and supporting the Senior Management Team.

The EFL Trust are committed to achieving greater diversity in all its forms on our Board, senior leadership team and beyond. We have a transparent procedure for the appointment of trustees and all appointments are made in line with the skills and diversity required of the Board.

Whenever a trustee departs, a skills and diversity audit will be done. The skills, experience and diversity required for the new position will determine the approach to the open recruitment process.

This will identify the most appropriate sources for advertisement, this will include appropriate social media forums. In particular preference will be given to advertisement in channels that will increase the likelihood of diversity of applicants.

Liam Scully (Chair)

Liam Scully has more than 20 years of experience working in football and communities, having started his career via an apprenticeship and working his way up to become chief executive of Lincoln City. He is responsible for the day to day running of the Imps on behalf of the fans, directors and investors, including heading up a seven-man senior management team, and more than 150 employees. He joined Lincoln City in the summer of 2017 as they returned to the EFL, helping guide the club to a further promotion to League One where they reached the 2020-21 play-off final.

Prior to joining Lincoln, Liam spent 16 years in various roles at Doncaster Rovers and the wider Club Doncaster group – starting as an apprentice funded by the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) and graduating to a spell as Foundation chief executive then chief operating officer of Club Doncaster. That rise through the ranks culminated in Liam being inducted into the National Apprenticeship Hall of Fame in 2007. The Hall of Fame recognises outstanding achievement in enterprise and business from those who started off their working life through an apprenticeship scheme.

Liam also holds voluntary offices including director of Lincolnshire County FA, trustee of Lincoln City Foundation, along with ambassador roles at the Asian Sports Foundation and XP Free School Trust.

 

Trevor Birch

Appointed as EFL Chief Executive in January 2021, Trevor Birch has held several prominent roles within football, including Chief Executive at Chelsea, Everton, Leeds United, Sheffield United and Derby County, as well as Chair of Swansea City.

A former professional footballer, Birch started out as an apprentice at Liverpool, aged 16, before going on to represent Shrewsbury Town and Chester before retiring as a player aged 23. Following retirement from the professional game, he gained a first-class degree in Accountancy before qualifying as a chartered accountant and then Partner with EY.

In 2002, he returned to the game when appointed as Chief Executive of Chelsea, where he led the £180 million sale to Roman Abramovich in 2003. Since then as well as his Executive appointments he has also undertaken the role of Administrator at Portsmouth and Hearts.

Birch brings a wealth of industry experience, with his acumen and vast expertise being invaluable to the EFL.

 

Louise Gear

Louise is the new Head of Development at the Football Association (FA) and joined the organisation in November 2017 as Head of Women’s Development.  Prior to taking up her role at the FA she was Director of Strategic Networks at the Youth Sport Trust, overseeing the work of multiple teams, including Physical Education; Sport and Development.

Louise served the charity for 17 years and was responsible for establishing the School Sport Partnership and School Games Organiser networks in England, working with various government departments and Sport England. Since joining the FA, Louise has pioneered the Women’s and Girls grassroots strategy, with a vision to transform the game for girls in schools and clubs by 2024.

She was responsible for the Doubling Participation achievement within the FAs Gameplan for Growth strategy, which included the mass scale national programme ‘Wildcats’ that won a UEFA Award. With a background in high performance sport, Louise represented England at U18, U21 and Senior levels in netball, touring New Zealand and Fiji for the World Youth Cup.

 

Nick Perchard

Nick is Head of Community Development, at The Premier League and is responsible for the delivery of the Premier League’s community strategy, which aims to use the inspiration of the Premier League and professional clubs to; help young people realise their potential, inspire ambition in communities and schools, support young people to improve their skills on and off the sports field, and invest in facilities and create opportunities in high-need areas. In 2016 Nick was appointed as a Trustee of the National League Trust as the Premier League’s representative.

Before joining the Premier League, Nick was CEO of Hertfordshire FA (2009-2014), and County Development Manager at Essex FA (2006-2009) where he also sat on the Board of the County Sports Partnership. His early career was spent at Watford FC’s Community Sports and Education Trust and QPR FC in the Community.

 

Dave Palmer

Dave Palmer is the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) Community Liaison Executive which involves working with various personnel at Football League clubs, advising on and monitoring player engagement within local communities.

A former professional player at Wrexham Football Club during the late 1970s, Dave has extensive experience in the world of football, including serving as a Football Development Manager, working in partnership with a number of local authorities, The FA and Sport England, and then going on to be the South East Regional Director for the National Football in the Community Programme working closely with Senior Executives at Premier League and EFL Clubs to develop locally based Community Organisations.

 

Carol Shanahan OBE

Carol Shanahan OBE is Chair of Synectics Solutions and Port Vale FC. Carol started her Career in the IT industry at the tender age of 17 as a main-frame computer operator. In September 2015, Carol was appointed Managing Director of Synectics where she acted as the fulcrum from which the entire business changed, adapted, innovated, and delivered organisational growth and in January 2020 Carol was promoted to the position of Chair.

In 2018, building on her work to tackle food poverty among school children in Stoke-on-Trent, Carol launched the Hubb Foundation which aims to provide fun and engaging activities for youngsters, as well as nutritious meals, in a safe environment during school holiday periods.

In May of 2019 Carol took the reins as Chair of Port Vale FC, following her family’s acquisition of the League Two club. Carol has been the driving force behind the Vale’s resurgence on and off the field and helped to build the club’s reputation with its supporters and nationally within the industry. When the first Covid-19 pandemic lockdown occurred in March 202o Carol oversaw the creation of the Port Vale Community Hub which brought together club staff, the Hubb Foundation, Synectics Solutions, Summit Hospitality, the Port Vale Foundation, volunteers and local businesses. To date it has delivered more than 170,000 meals to families in need across Stoke-on-Trent.

In the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2020 Carol, aged 62, was awarded an OBE for services to the communities of Stoke-on-Trent.

 

Ashley Hackett (Nominated Trustee)

Ashley Hackett joins the EFL Trust Board as an EFL nominated Trustee to represent the nationwide network of Club Community Organisations. Ashley has 25 years of Sports Development experience, including work at Blackpool Council, Wyre Council, Major League Soccer (USA) plus roles on school boards, steering groups and the EFL Trust Advisory Group.

He is now twelve years into his tenure at Blackpool Football Club Community Trust, and during his leadership years has grown the Trust significantly.

 

Caroline Artis (Nominated Trustee)

Caroline Artis is an EFL nominated Trustee having previously joined the EFL Board in June 2023.

Caroline was a partner in EY for 24 years, during which time she became London Office Managing Partner and a member of the UK and Ireland two leadership team.

She remains in an ambassadorial role at EY, as well as holding two non-executive positions and trusteeships of three charities.

 

Uma Cresswell (Senior Independent Director)

Uma is a Non-Executive Director serving on a number of boards both in the private and third sector, whilst running her own international HR consulting business. Uma spent over 25 years in senior HR roles across Europe, the Middle East, North America, Asia and Australasia and has a wealth of directly relevant cross-cultural practitioner experience having worked with executives and professionals managing multiple business lines at ANZ Banking Group Limited, AXA Rosenberg, Deutsche Bank, Cable & Wireless and NatWest.

Currently serving as Chair and President of City Women Network, Uma is passionate about developing talent and in particular, supporting women of colour.  City Women Network is one of the longest established independent organisations for professional and business women in the UK, committed to furthering the professional and personal development of female talent in business.

Uma is CIPD accredited, an NLP Practitioner and Strengthscope coach, with expertise in inclusive leadership, cultural sensitivity, strategy, change and transformation. Away from the world of work, Uma has a teenage daughter and a gorgeous Cavapoo. She is also a season ticket holder at Leicester City Football club and is fluent in Hindi and Gujarati.

 

Andy Williamson

Andy Williamson OBE’s career at EFL began in 1971, when at the age of 17, he joined the Player Administration Department. The Yorkshireman went on to serve virtually every department within the organisation.

Williamson, who retired at the end of the 15/16 season, was awarded the prestigious Contribution to League Football Award at the EFL Awards in 2016 for 45 years of unbroken service to the EFL and its clubs.

He played a key role in the formation of League Football Education (LFE) and is a current Trustee of the organisation. During his career he has been personally involved in many of EFL’s defining moments including the introduction of three points for a win (1981), the League’s first title sponsorship (1983) and the introduction of the Play-Offs (1986) – the finals of which moved to Wembley in 1990 at his personal instigation. In 2012, he was awarded the OBE in recognition of his outstanding contribution to football.

 

Roger Davidson (Independent Director)

Roger Davidson is Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer at London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, where his responsibilities include strategy development, business planning, communications, engagement and public education, health inequalities, equality diversity and inclusion, and the LAS charity.

Prior to this Roger served in senior national roles with NHS England including being appointed as the organisation’s first Director of Communications. He was later appointed Director of System Partnerships, supporting development across England of 42 integrated care systems which were successfully put on a statutory footing in 2022.

Roger joined NHS England from the NHS Confederation where he led influencing on the Coalition Government’s Health and Social Care Act 2012, representing all parts of the NHS from acute and ambulance trusts to primary care and mental health.

Prior to this, Roger was Head of External Affairs for the health and care regulator, the Care Quality Commission and spent six years as Head of News for the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), influencing the government on a range of policy areas. He started his career with Oxfam where played a key role in the organisation’s response to the international emergency in Rwanda.

 

Roger Shepherd (Independent Director)

Experienced chartered accountant Roger Shepherd has been appointed as an Independent Trustee of the Board and joins with nearly twenty years spent in Board positions and brings expertise in HR, Operations, IT, Facilities and Legal matters.