Julie Harrington will leave British Cycling in the New Year ©British Cycling

British Cycling has announced its chief executive Julie Harrington is set to leave the organisation to take up the same post at the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) in the new year.

Harrington joined British Cycling in 2017, when the national governing body was facing strong criticism.

British Cycling was subject to a UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) investigation regarding a "mystery package" delivered for cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné, while an independent review had been launched amid accusations of sexism and bullying.

Governance reforms were approved early in Harrington’s tenure, which included the establishing the position of an independent British Cycling chair.

Frank Slevin, who assumed the position, praised Harrington’s efforts to help strengthen the organisation.

"Julie will leave with the good wishes of the Board and everyone at British Cycling,” Slevin said.

"With Julie as chief executive officer, and thanks to a strong leadership team, British Cycling has made great strides towards our ambition of becoming a world-leading governing body.

"We have bolstered our integrity and compliance processes, strengthened our regional structures to better develop grassroots cycle sport and established a firm financial footing with a sound cost base, thanks to the support of our members, Sport England, UK Sport and our commercial partners.

"While we wish Julie well in her new role, I am excited to now recruit for one of the best jobs in British sport."

Harrington, who joined British Cycling after working as group operations director of the English Football Association, said she believed solid foundations had been established at the national governing body.

"Wherever I have been since 2017, I have been proud to say I work for British Cycling,” Harrington said.

"There have been challenges but it has been hugely rewarding and a lot of fun.

Julie Harrington had served as British Cycling chief executive since 2017 ©British Cycling
Julie Harrington had served as British Cycling chief executive since 2017 ©British Cycling

"With the team at British Cycling, we’ve achieved a great deal together and established solid foundations for the future of the federation as well as the sport.

"I remain in post to the end of the year and I look forward to supporting the Board in my succession, leading the team to a return to a healthy domestic sporting calendar, as we build back from a global pandemic, and ensuring the new chief executive can build on the new enthusiasm for cycling we've seen in 2020.”

Harrington previously spent nine years with the Northern Racing Group as operations director and was a non-executive director of the BHA between 2014 and 2019.

The BHA welcomed Harrington’s appointment, describing the official as one of the most experienced leaders in sport, with a strong background in consumer, operational and regulatory roles, and a clear understanding of the financial challenges facing participants.

"As chief executive of British Cycling, she has dealt with some significant regulatory challenges," said BHA chair Annamarie Phelps.

"I am delighted that Julie is coming back to the BHA and to racing and the Board and I are looking forward to working closely with her.

"This is a vital leadership role for the organisation and British racing.

"Julie’s hands-on knowledge of horseracing, coupled with her governance and business experience, make her the ideal person to carry on with the task of restoring sustainable prosperity after the COVID crisis.

"We’ve got the right person, for the right job, at the right time."

Harrington will succeed Nick Rust, who will continue in the role until she joins on January 4.