July 2024: Special issue
LED announce new CEO

10 Jun 2024

LED Community Leisure has announced the appointment of Olly Swayne as the new Chief Executive.

The appointment follows the retirement of their long-serving Chief Executive, Peter Gilpin.

Peter has taken LED through some tumultuous times, growing the organisation into one of the most respected leisure providers in the UK.

Starting with LED in March 2010, Peter has overseen significant growth in the organisation, a charitable not-for-profit trust that runs all East Devon District Council’s leisure facilities. LED has facilitated over £5 million of capital investment in the Councils facilities, including a £2.5 million refurbishment of Exmouth Leisure Centre, initiated, funded, and delivered by LED and match funded by the National Lottery.

Olly brings a wealth of commercial and operational experience from a career spanning three decades, having held senior leadership positions, most recently as the Director of Commercial Integration at Caterfood Buying Group (Bidfood UK), where he managed strategic initiatives aimed at driving growth and operational excellence across multiple regional businesses.

He was also Group Commercial Manager at Loungers PLC, where he played a pivotal role leading the commercial operations team and managing purchasing, supply chain, and compliance for one of the UK's fastest-growing casual dining operators.
Prior to this Olly held various senior positions at SSP Group PLC, where he accelerated growth across airport concessions at Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter airports, which led him to roles in business development and business change, across the UK, Ireland, and Scandinavia. His proven track record of delivering results through strategic planning, operational efficiency, and stakeholder engagement makes him a valuable addition to the LED team.

As Chief Executive of LED, Olly will lead the organisation in its mission to provide exceptional leisure services for communities across East Devon and beyond. His strategic vision and commitment to enhancing community well-being align perfectly with LED's goals of promoting active lifestyles and fostering a vibrant leisure, wellbeing and healthy culture.

Olly expressed his excitement about his new role, saying; "It is a real privilege to be joining such a talented team of people at LED and to be given the opportunity to contribute to the organisation's future success. I look forward to working closely with the LED Board, the wider team, East Devon District Council, other stakeholders, our members and many other partners to further enhance the leisure facilities, outreach services and commercial operations. I want to make a positive impact on the lives and enjoyment of everyone living in and visiting East Devon and beyond".

Asked about his time with LED, Peter said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my 14 years with LED and am proud of what the trust has achieved in that time, which would not have been possible without the tremendous support I have had from my board and outstanding staff teams. I am particularly proud of our award-winning community engagement and outreach work. I know we are having a significant impact in providing a broader health and wellbeing service to the residents of East Devon. Undoubtably the greatest challenge has been steering the organisation through the COVID pandemic. This would not have been possible without the support of the Council, its officers and members, my board and management team, and particularly our customers, many of whom voluntarily continued to pay their membership subscriptions throughout the various lockdowns and closures. With LED now stable and even out-performing pre-pandemic levels of membership and attendances, I feel that the time is right to step down and let my successor, Olly Swayne, pick up the reins and continue to drive LED forward. I wish him, LED’s Board and management team and the Council all the best and look forward to supporting them as a keen customer!
Richard Purchase, Chair of the LED Board said; “We are delighted that Olly will be joining LED shortly and can help shape the future direction of the organisation whilst looking at and building on the commercial successes we have already enjoyed. Our partnership with East Devon District Council is important and Olly will have the establishing of a strong working relationship with officers and members as one of his key priorities.”

Speaking about former CEO Peter Gilpin, Richard added: “Recognising that partnership working was the key to successful leisure provision was inspired and LED was an early adopter of many new and innovative ways of providing services under Peter’s leadership. He has forged sustaining relationships with a whole range of organisations, not least our key partner, East Devon District Council. We will be forever grateful for his vision and drive. I and the whole Board wish Peter a long and happy retirement.”


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