Livingston James Recruits CEO for the Scottish Football Association

Livingston James Ian Maxwell CEO Scottish Football Association

May 3, 2018 – The sports and entertainment field is one of the most active and fast-growing sectors for executive search businesses, with many C-suite-focused recruiting firms having been drawn to it. Recently, Livingston James placed Ian Maxwell as the new CEO of the Scottish Football Association (SFA). He replaces Stewart Regan, who resigned three months ago.

Douglas Adam, director in the search firm’s public sector and non-profit recruiting practice, led the assignment. The association was looking for an individual with previous involvement in designing, leading and implementing organizational and cultural change “in a manner that inspires, motivates and engages all employees,” said Livingston James.

Mr. Maxwell fit that bill, promising to bring a large amount of football knowledge to the role. “He has built up a terrific reputation in the industry and is respected across the game,” said Alan McRae, president of SFA. “Ian emerged from a robust recruitment process which attracted interest from a range of candidates across the U.K. and beyond. We were convinced that Ian’s track record, communication skills and leadership qualities will allow him to grasp the challenges of today and fulfill our potential as an association and as a footballing nation in the future.”

Football Background

Mr. Maxwell comes to the SFA from Scottish Premiership club Partick Thistle, where he currently serves as managing director. He will join the SFA on May 21. A former footballer, Mr. Maxwell turned out for Queen’s Park, Ross County, St. Johnstone, St. Mirren and Partick Thistle during his playing career. He served as assistant manager and general manager at Thistle before becoming the club’s managing director in 2014. In addition, Mr. Maxwell has also served on the boards of the SFA and the Scottish Professional Football League.


Sports and Entertainment Expansion Elevating Search Business

Over the last 25 years, the sports sector has grown into a formidable global industry. Historically, professional sports teams operated on a relatively modest level, with league officials, team owners, managers, and coaches surrounding themselves with people they knew and trusted from their own small worlds. College sports teams relied on in-house search committees and word-of-mouth recommendations. Familiarity, however, can also breed contempt.

Teams with huge followings like the Dallas Cowboys, Real Madrid and Manchester United have seen their valuations soar into the billions of dollars. That’s attracted search firms – big time. Seasoned recruiters now provide strategic planning advice, in addition to talent identification services, with the capability of applying their findings to speed along the process in the hunt for talent. Here’s some further reading from Hunt Scanlon Media.


“Scottish football has been my life, from playing to coaching and on to managing a club,” said Mr. Maxwell. “I am hugely excited about the role and facing into the big issues that we will need to tackle. The game means so much to so many in this country. I will work tirelessly to serve all our members, support and lead the Scottish FA’s staff and help bring everyone together to shape a better future for Scottish football.”

Related: Recruiters Offer Sports Clients an Expanding Talent Platform

As the association’s new leader, Mr. Maxwell will be responsible for planning, directing, controlling and delivering the operations within a strategy and a budget set by the board, said the search firm. He will be expected to contribute not just with the association’s member clubs, affiliated national associations and wider stakeholders such as sportscotland and the Scottish government, but also internationally through participation with UEFA and with FIFA, the world’s governing body.

Related: Executive Recruiters Continue Their Expansion into the Sports Industry

SFA is the governing body of football in Scotland. Its focus is to promote, foster and develop the game at all levels and abilities throughout Scotland in an open and inclusive manner. Founded in 1873, the SFA is the second oldest national football association in the world.

The Recruiters

Livingston James, part of the Livingston James Group, is a search and selection practice based in Edinburgh. The firm, founded by Jamie Livingston, works across a range of sectors, specialties and geographies. Mr. Livingston brings deep expertise and experience in the attraction and selection of board and head-of -function-level talent in professional services, private equity and CFO services.

With over 18 years recruitment experience in the public and not-for-profit sectors, Mr. Adam has an extensive network and deep understanding of talent attraction and acquisition at the senior leadership level. He joined Livingston James in 2014 to establish and lead the firm’s public and not-for-profit sector practice. He specializes in senior management, head of function, board and non-executive appointments.

Related: Executive Search Gets ‘On the Ball’ In Sports Recruitment

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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