World Athletics, the sport’s international governing body, has today appointed Jakob Larsen, until now the chief executive of the Danish Athletic Federation, as its director of competition and events.
World Athletics first advertised the new position at the end of last year, and the 50-year-old Larsen (pictured) was selected from a list of 74 candidates from more than 20 countries.
Larsen will take up the role in early April, and will be based at World Athletics’ head office in Monaco.
He said: “Athletics is a sport I love and I am joining a world class team operating on a global stage in the most participated sport in the world. It is a dream come true and I am looking forward to being part of the team that creates and delivers the changes that will see athletics grow from strength to strength.”
As part of his role, he will chair the newly formed Global Calendar Unit, replacing World Athletics chief executive Jon Ridgeon. The unit has been launched to lead, manage and coordinate all parts of the global athletics calendar from World to National Championships and aims to create a three- to four-year global calendar to make the schedule easier to follow.
Larsen has worked across sports over the last 25 years, from research and analysis to delivering events at all levels, coaching and running a national sports federation.
He has spent the last 12 years as chief executive of the Danish Athletic Federation, and is credited with overseeing a growth in revenues of 800 per cent and transforming the organisation from a traditional national governing body to a project-based organisation with an innovative performance system.
While there, he and his team invested in hosting several significant road races, including the Schools Olympics, the Royal Run, the Copenhagen Half Marathon and two World Athletics Championships events.
Ridgeon said: “Jakob’s skills and experience across our sport are rare and valuable. He combines incredible knowledge of athletics, having run a Member Federation, hosted world championships, one-day meetings, park and road events, with creativity and innovation which is critical to the journey we are on to grow athletics.”
Late last year, Ridgeon left his position as executive chairman of CSM Active, a division of the UK-based sports agency CSM Sport and Entertainment, to join World Athletics as chief executive.
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe, first elected in 2015, was re-elected as president in 2019.