altCITY businessman Edmond Warner (pictured) was today appointed as the first chairman of UK Athletics and given the task of overseeing the sport's preparations for the 2012 Olympics.


Warner, 43, will start immediately and act as part-time non-executive chairman and his role will be equivalent to that of the chairman of a public company.


"Ed was by far and away the outstanding candidate for the new post of chairman of UK Athletics," said John Taylor, a UKA non-executive director who managed the recruitment process.


"His experience speaks for itself and he is exactly what UKA needs to take it to the next level.


"He is a leader with a track record of success. He makes things happen, he is a winner in business and will help provide real leadership to the sport."


Warner successfully sold the financial trading company IFX Group in 2006, having been its chief executive for three years.


Previously he was chief executive of Old Mutual Financial Services UK and now writes a weekly column on business for the Daily Telegraph. He is also a contributor on BBC Radio 4's business news.


UK Athletics  chose Warner to reshape its future, particularly in the build-up to the 2012 Olympic Games, rather than a high-profile former athlete.


David Bedford, Steve Cram, Sebastian Coe and Brendan Foster were all linked to the position. But none declared an interest in overseeing the administration of the sport's governing body.


Warner's first task will be to name UKA's next chief executive officer following David Moorcroft's decision to step down from the post in August.


An announcement of Moorcroft's successor is likely to be made very shortly and almost certainly before the end of this month.


"We are at an advanced stage of the recruitment process for a new chief executive for UKA," said Warner. 


"This is something I have been involved with over the last few weeks. We have had some outstanding applicants for the post and I am confident that we will be in a position to announce Dave’s successor in the coming weeks.”


A competitive local runner, Warner has completed seven marathons over the last five years and is an active member of the Fittleworth Flyers, a running club based in West Sussex.


He said, “I am hugely excited by the challenge of leading the sport of athletics through to 2012 and beyond.


"As a keen athletics fan, I know there is talent out there to enable us to achieve great things at our home Games in five years time.


"But we need to work together to ensure that this talent is nurtured and developed and I look forward to leading the UKA team towards this goal.


“I am also very aware of the need to continue the modernisation of the sport started by Dave Moorcroft. He has done a tremendous job in bringing together our sport and that’s something I’m keen to build on.”


As a committed club member, Warner already plays an active role in athletics.


“None of my achievements in our sport allows me to stand shoulder to shoulder with Britain’s leading athletes, but I believe that they give me some insight into their motivations and the commitment necessary for them to achieve excellence in their chosen fields.


"At a grassroots level I also understand the commitment of those volunteers on whom our sport depends and the pleasure we all get seeing youngsters competing and I am excited by the prospect of working with colleagues from all levels of the sport."


Coe, the chairman of LOCOG, was consulted during the recruitment process with UKA president, Lynn Davies and Peter Radcliffe, chairman of England Athletics and the father of distance runner Paula, playing a full role.


Coe believes that Warner can take athletics in the UK forward.


"I am delighted that Ed has agreed to take up the new role of Chairman of UK Athletics," said the 1980 and 1984 Olympic 1500 metres champion.


"I have already had the pleasure of meeting Ed and I am looking forward to working with him as he leads the sport through its next stage of development as we prepare for 2012 and beyond.


"His track record in business speaks volumes and his vision will be a welcome addition to the athletics community."