Man who transformed Sheffield sports and leisure announces retirement

Steve Brailey MBE
Steve Brailey MBE
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The man in charge of some of Sheffield’s top leisure venues for more than two decades has announced his retirement.

Steve Brailey MBE will step down from his role as chief executive of Sheffield City Trust and its operating company SIV in August after 21 years in charge.

The 61-year-old has made a career out of innovation in the leisure industry.

He began by converting a floating barge into a pub in Grimsby, before managing the development of a three floor 10-pin bowling centre and the first Brannigans theme pub.

He moved to Blackpool Tower in 1991 to oversee a £17 million facelift before coming to Sheffield to take the role of chief executive of Sheffield City Trust, or SCT, in February 1996.

Under Mr Brailey’s leadership the charity and SIV have turned underused and closure-threatened sports facilities, built for the World Student Games, into modern and innovative venues for the whole community, as well as for elite sports men and women such as Jessica Ennis-Hill to the GB Olympic boxing squad.

The portfolio now includes the English Institute of Sport, Ponds Forge, iceSheffield and the Arena.

Mr Brailey said: “It’s been an absolute honour to have worked in such a rewarding role for so many years.

“To look back on everything we’ve achieved over the last 21 years is actually quite unbelievable. But none of it would have been possible without the dedication, commitment and expertise of a tremendous group of executives, trustees, managers and staff, who have all played a critical role in delivering our huge range of successes and achievements for the benefit of the people of Sheffield.

“I’m now looking forward to taking some time out to travel to places we’ve always wanted to visit, as well as spending more time with my parents in Devon.

“My dad suffers from Alzheimer’s and I’ve been a committed fundraiser of the Alzheimer’s Society - something I will do more of in my retirement.”

Mr Brailey's team of more than 1,200 staff help to stage more than 2,000 events per year.

During his time as chief executive, the Arena has nine times been voted music venue of the year. SIV's sports facilities have attained some of the highest Quest management scores in the country, whilst its Fitness Unlimited gym membership is a quadruple winner of the Fitness Industry Association's award, Centre of the Year.

Alex Pettifer, chairman of the 7 Hills Leisure Trust, which is part of SCT, said: "Steve has been a determined and dedicated chief executive throughout his time at SIV. He has developed, encouraged and motivated people to the highest standard and will be an extremely difficult person to replace.

"His retirement comes at a challenging time for the organisation but we are confident that the example he has set will be taken on by everyone across the organisation, as well as his successor. We all wish Steve the best of luck with his pending retirement."

Steve's replacement will be announced in due course.