One of the most prominent and respected women in sport, Prof Denise Barrett-Baxendale, MBE, is a Director at Everton Football Club, Chief Executive Officer of Everton Football Club and Executive Chair of the Club’s official charity, Everton in the Community.
Since September 2016, Denise has serve as a Board member to Sport England; the only representative from the world of football appointed to the Board of the national body for grassroots sports.
Before venturing into the third sector and world of sport, Denise spent 16 years working in education and fulfilled a variety of academic and leadership roles within Higher Education.
Denise arrived at the Club in January 2010 to develop and lead a transformation strategy for Everton in the Community. Due to the success of this venture, Denise became the Club’s Chief Operating Officer in October 2011, before being promoted to Deputy Chief Executive in June 2013. In that role, Denise played an integral part in improving the matchday experience for supporters, in turn helping to increase attendances and enhance Everton’s reputation both nationally and abroad. She was appointed to the Club's Board of Directors in July 2016 and then named CEO in June 2018 following the departure of Robert Elstone.
On her promotion to the Chief Executive Officer role, Professor Barrett-Baxendale said: “I am so proud to be given this opportunity and grateful for the support of the Chairman, Board of Directors and Mr Moshiri. I fully understand the privileged position that I will be taking up and the responsibilities that come with it. This is a great Club – footballing royalty - with the best, most committed fans and I can assure every single Evertonian that I am completely committed to driving our Club forward and making the most of the opportunities that we have. I know what the priorities are and I’m determined that we make progress in these areas. It’s also important to me that we make our progress in the right way - in the ‘Everton way’ - and this includes listening, consulting and collaborating on all important Club matters.”
Under Denise's stewardship, Everton in the Community has received international recognition for its pioneering initiatives and programmes - schemes which, collectively, have earned almost 100 local, national and international awards.
In June 2014, Denise was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for ‘Services to the Community of Merseyside’, an award presented by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in October 2014. Denise received further recognition for her “exceptional commitment, service and leadership to the stadium industry over a sustained period of time” when she was presented with an ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ at the prestigious Stadium Business Awards, again at Camp Nou, Barcelona, in June 2015. The award recognises leadership, innovation and achievement in the delivery, operation and management of sports facilities globally.
In April 2019, Denise was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant in the County of Merseyside. The voluntary position sees her working alongside other Deputy Lieutenants in assisting Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant Mr Mark Blundell in carrying out his role as The Queen’s Personal Representative in the County.
Away from Everton, Denise sits on a Creativity Commission for the Lord Mayor of Liverpool and serves as a patron of St Vincent’s School for the Blind in West Derby, Liverpool. In October 2015, Denise was inducted as a Fellow of Angela Hall at Liverpool Hope University, where her role will see her build relationships with resident students to guide and inspire them. In 2016, Denise was appointed to Liverpool Hope University’s Executive Advisory Team and also became a Local Authority Ambassador for looked-after children in the city of Liverpool.
A keen volunteer, Denise enjoys walking, reading and theatre and is a fellow of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce).
In October 2016 Denise was received an Honorary Visiting Professorship in Leadership in Sport Serving Humanity from Liverpool Hope University.
Denise’s other qualifications and awards include BA(Hons), MBA, PhD.