Michael Chivers has been appointed as the people director of British Cycling ©British Cycling

British Cycling has appointed a people director for the first time in its history as it seeks to "transform the organisation by putting the welfare of athletes and staff at its core".

Michael Chivers has brought in to the governing body and is forming part of the their efforts to refresh and strengthen its leadership.

A new leadership structure has been created, bringing together the organisation's senior positions to provide "strategic direction and accountability" across the organisation.

At the beginning of March, the chairman of British Cycling, Jonathan Browning, announced a 39-point action plan based on the draft findings of the independent review into the culture of the organisation’s World Class Performance Programme (WCPP).

Browning admitted last month that the governing body "failed" athletes on its WCPP.

A review of British Cycling was initiated after former technical director Shane Sutton resigned from his role amid accusations of sexual discrimination against sprinter Jess Varnish.

British Cycling has been accused of "sanitising" the report into Varnish’s claims, while other allegations include that they allowed a "culture of fear", including the bullying of riders and staff, to grow.

The emergence of "dysfunctional leadership" was also uncovered in the unpublished report, seen by the Daily Mail.

“Michael Chivers’ experience and expertise in change and people management will be invaluable in pushing ahead British Cycling’s plans to ensure the organisation is effective and accountable in its management of athletes and staff so that it fosters a transparent and inclusive culture, following past failings in this area," said Browning.

“Michael’s appointment is just one step forward in our efforts to make British Cycling a mature organisation.

"Incredible growth and success came quickly to the organisation meaning that we outstripped our structures and started to fail in some areas.

"Through these new structures and people we are ensuring that British Cycling is fit for purpose and a great place to work and compete."

Jonathan Browning unveiled a 39-point action plan based on the draft findings of an independent review last month ©Getty Images
Jonathan Browning unveiled a 39-point action plan based on the draft findings of an independent review last month ©Getty Images

Chivers has already started working in the role, having been tasked with conducting British Cycling’s first culture survey of the organisation to assess staff and athlete views.

He has also been reviewing the athlete induction, engagement and representation processes and the organisation's code of conduct to ensure it is in line with its new values.

“There is no doubt that British Cycling’s major success story in terms of both elite glory and participation has been down to the exceptional work of its people," said Chivers. 

"But for too long we have been a purely results driven organisation and it is clear that this has sometimes been at the expense of ensuring that our athletes and staff are looked after, with due care and proper processes followed.

“As part of the wide-scale professionalisation of our policies and procedures, we need to ensure that we have an engaged and motivated workforce and that our athletes are given the best experience from the moment they step on to one of our pathways right through to the time when they leave us.

"There are only six roles on the executive leadership team at British Cycling and the fact that one of them is solely dedicated to athlete and staff welfare and performance is a sign of how seriously the organisation is taking this.

"I feel privileged to be able to dedicate myself to making sure that we absolutely get this right.”