Former shadow chancellor Ed Balls named as new chairman of Norwich City Football Club
PUBLISHED: 15:45 27 December 2015 | UPDATED: 16:16 27 December 2015
Former shadow chancellor Ed Balls has been appointed as the new chairman of Norwich City Football Club.
Norwich-born Mr Balls, 48, takes up his non-executive role with immediate effect and will join his fellow directors at Carrow Road for tomorrow’s Premier League match against Aston Villa.
Born at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital and educated in Bawburgh, Nottingham, and then at Oxford University and the Harvard Kennedy School, Mr Balls left the Financial Times in 1994 to pursue a career in government.
Mr Balls said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to be asked to join the board of directors at Norwich City as chairman.
“From the moment my dad first took me to watch city from the terraces at Carrow Road in 1973, my earliest ambition was to play for the club I loved. But the next best thing is to become chairman of Norwich City, and do what I can off the pitch to help city succeed on the pitch.
“The club’s immediate priority and focus is, of course, the retention of our hard-earned Premier League status, and the hard work of my fellow directors and all of my colleagues at the club means Norwich City is in great shape on and off the pitch going into 2016.
“With that foundation, the challenge for all of us at Norwich is to go from the up-and-down fortunes I have known since I was a boy to an era of sustained success, and I will be proud to play my part in that.”
Mr Balls was the treasury’s chief economic adviser from 1997-2004, during which time he represented the UK at the G20 meeting of global finance ministers and was the chair of the International Monetary Fund Deputies Committee.
A Labour MP for 10 years after 2005 - until his defeat in May, Mr Balls has held a variety of senior positions during his political career, including economic secretary to the Treasury, secretary of state for children, schools and families, shadow home secretary and shadow chancellor of the exchequer.
Mr Balls is currently a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a visiting professor at King’s College, London.
He will be undertaking his role at Norwich City in an unpaid capacity, alongside his ongoing academic, commercial, charitable and media activities.
Welcoming Mr Balls to the Board, city’s joint majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones said his vast economic knowledge and extensive experience with both the public and private sectors would be a huge asset for the club.
They said: “We’re absolutely delighted to confirm that Ed Balls is the new chairman of Norwich City.
“His economic know-how and experience, coupled with his passion for all things Norwich City, will be a major asset for the board and we’re excited about working closely together with Ed, David McNally and the other directors in this new era for the club.
“Ed will work closely with all of us on the short, medium and long-term strategy to shape the future of this great football club.”
Alan Bowkett, the club’s previous chairman, stepped down earlier this month.
Mr Bowkett was appointed chairman of the club in July 2009 and was a key figure in stabilising the Canaries’ financial position following relegation to League One.
The lifelong Norwich fan was a successful businessman who held leading roles at a number of British and European companies before joining the Norwich board.
Mr Bowkett had been re-elected to the board last month at the annual meeting held at Carrow Road and along with chief executive David McNally formally presented the last set of club accounts in October.