Chris Townsend (LOCOG)

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Chris Townsend OBE is the Commercial Director of Chelsea F.C. as confirmed on the 22nd February 2017.[1]

Chelsea Football Club[edit]

Chris Townsend OBE is confirmed to take over the role of Commercial Director of Chelsea F.C. following the departure of Christian Purslow.[2] The news was confirmed by Secretary of State for The Department for Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley who praised Chris for growing the UK's Broadband Coverage to over 93% in the three years he was CEO of BDUK.[3] In a Tweet, Head of the British Civil Service Jeremy Heywood thanked Chris for his leadership and described his work as "commercial expertise at its best".[4] As Commercial Director, Chris will be responsible for all of Chelsea's commercial programmes including global sponsorship, ticketing, licensing and merchandise.


Chris Townsend was appointed CEO of Broadband Delivery UK in January 2014.[5] Chris oversees a £1 billion investment in improving broadband internet access and mobile infrastructure, with the ambition to provide super-fast broadband (speeds of 24Mbit/s or more) for at least 95% of UK premises and universal access to basic broadband (speeds of at least 2Mbit/s).[6] He will further manage a Government investment of up to £150 million to support UK cities to develop the digital infrastructure capability to remain internationally competitive and attractive for investors, business and visitors. The permanent secretary at DCMS, Sue Owen, described Chris Townsend's appointment as, “in line with [Treasury minister] Lord Deighton’s review of big government infrastructure projects”, which recommended bringing in commercial expertise to fill capability gaps and ensure that key projects are delivered successfully.[7] In February 2015, Chris Townsend announced that BDUK was set to reach its target of 95 percent coverage by 2017.[8]

The London 2012 Olympics[edit]

Chris Townsend was part of the successful London 2012 Olympic bid team in his previous role as Marketing Director at Transport for London. The Chairman of the London 2012 Olympic bid, Sir Keith Mills, encouraged Townsend to apply for the commercial director role.[9] In June 2006, Chris Townsend was appointed as Commercial Director by the London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic Games.[10] Townsend is responsible for domestic sponsorship, ticket marketing and merchandising of the London 2012 Olympic Games and the negotiation of worldwide broadcast rights and sponsorship for the games with the International Olympic Committee.[11] Townsend has the responsibility for generating £2billion to prepare and stage the Olympic Games in London in 2012.[12][13] Chris Townsend was listed in The London 100 Secret Power Brokers, having signed major domestic partners without which the London 2012 Olympic Games would not be possible. During the last five years Townsend signed leading brands including Lloyds TSB, British Airways, BT and EDF Energy. The financial support from these partners has also helped to finance grass-roots sporting activity which will develop future Olympic competitors.[14] In 2011, portraits of sports stars and the people that helped organise the London 2012 games were unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery, including a photo of Chris Townsend.[15]

Previous Positions[edit]

Chris Townsend began his career at EMI Records in 1977 as a graduate trainee before becoming a Sales Manager. After earning little money from his role at EMI, Townsend joined Riva Computers in 1980 as a Sales Manager [16] for the biggest distributor of Hewlett Packard computers in Britain.[17] Four years after joining Riva Computers, at the age of 27, Townsend was headhunted by Laskys to manage their chain of 53 computer stores.[18] During his time at Laskys, Townsend set up a database marketing programme that was used to sell accessories to early consumers of Apple computers. The introduction of the database programme revolutionised the sector.[19] In 1986, Townsend was hired as a Board Director by DMB&B a worldwide top five Advertising Agency, before becoming joint Managing Director of the firm.[20] Townsend entered the world of multichannel television in 1990 as the sector was beginning to take off, becoming Marketing Director at BBC Enterprises, advising on subscription channels.[21] Townsend joined BSkyB as customer Marketing Director in April 1992. Taking up his role Townsend launched a subscription channel for the company’s latest signing, the Premier League.[22] Townsend launched Sky’s payTV channel which included Sky Sports & Sky Movies,[23] and was responsible for expanding Sky’s customer base from 250,000 to 3.5million customers.[24] In 1995 Townsend was promoted to marketing director of BSkyB.[25] Townsend went on to develop and implemented the Sky digital marketing strategy, Sky Interactive and the Sky electronic Programme Guide, which he personally patented.[26] Townsend’s involvement with Sky Interactive resulted in considerable commercial deals exceeding £500m.[27] In 1998, after six years at BSkyB, Townsend joined South African-based new media company Primedia as a commercial director. Townsend became a board member at Primedia's and a minority shareholder in the company.[28] Townsend joined Telewest on 26 July 1999, taking up the newly created role of director of interactive services. While at Telewest, Townsend was responsible for developing the company's digital TV services.[29] In April 2003, Transport for London (TfL) appointed Townsend as Group Marketing Director, a newly created role. Townsend’s challenges included marketing of the Congestion Charge and the London Underground (LU) network to London’s eight million residents.[30] During his directorship at TfL, Townsend negotiated all advertising and sponsorship revenue contracts, including an eight-year £800m deal with Viacom for the Underground advertising contract. Townsend was also responsible for the launch and marketing of the Oyster Card and the "branding London" campaign.[31]


Chris Townsend studied Geography at Newcastle University, gaining a BSc Single Honours. Townsend gained an MSc in Marketing Management at Nottingham Trent University, receiving a Distinction for Dissertation and was awarded Best Student.

In The Media[edit]

On 5 March 2007 The Independent newspaper published an article quoting Chris Townsend on the involvement of green products in the London 2012 Olympic Games: '(The 2012) Games focus very much on the environment and promote environmentally friendly products and services. There is an opportunity for car companies to get involved in that programme and for them to launch their new models. They are all developing new engines and new vehicles to launch later this decade and this is going to be a fantastic platform. By 2012 this market will be starting to take off in a very big way.' [32]


In February 2013, Chris Townsend was awarded an OBE in recognition for services to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.[33] Alongside Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Nicola Adams, Townsend was presented the award by Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Personal life[edit]

Chris Townsend was born in Rhodesia, southern Africa, and moved to England aged 11. He was educated at a Catholic school in Crawley, West Sussex, during which time he became involved with music band The Cure and was inspired to work in the music industry.[34] Chris Townsend lives with his wife in Wimbledon, Surrey.[35] He has two sons, one a teacher and the other a film maker. His hobbies include cycling, going to football matches and the theatre. Townsend is a keen supporter of Manchester United and likens his style of management to that of Sir Alex Ferguson.[36][37]


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