Olympic gold medalist Dame Katherine Grainger has been appointed the new chair of UK Sport.
After winning one gold and four silver medals in five Games, she is Britain’s most decorated female Olympian.
And now, in her first job in sports administration, she takes over as the head of the funding agency for elite sport.
It comes after the rower recently announced her retirement.
The 41-year-old succeeds Rod Carr and beat out former Paralympic swimmer Marc Woods, who also competed in five Paralympic Games, for the role.
Dame Katherine will take over after the General Election, with vice-chair Liz Astall the acting chair in the interim.
Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said: “Dame Katherine is a peerless leader both on the water and off it.
“As one of our greatest ever Olympians, she has an outstanding understanding of high performance sport, and through her educational and charity work has a proven commitment to inclusion.”
Dame Katherine said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be appointed as the next UK Sport chair.
“I am also very honoured to be joining the team at UK Sport and building on the success and commitment to excellence that I have witnessed and enjoyed as an athlete.
“I’m also acutely aware of the many challenging issues currently within sport and I hope to play a role in addressing them.”
The appointment of Dame Katherine was made by Culture Secretary Karen Bradley, with the approval of the Prime Minister.
She takes over at a difficult time of the agency, which had previously seen great success.
It had been credited with transforming the fortunes of British sport, which saw Team GB win 29 gold medals at London 2012 and 27 gold medals at Rio 2016.
Since then, problems have piled up for the organisation, not least problems with British Cycling.
Dame Katherine’s appointment could delay the publication of an independent report into the problems within British Cycling’s performance programme.
There have also been questions raised about UK Sport’s funding policy, which is based on the number of medals won at major events.
Predecessor Carr held the job for four years before deciding to step down rather than run for another term.
Dame Katherine’s appointment will also help UK Sport meet a new target of 30% of sports governing bodies’ boards to be made up of female members set by the government.
She grew up in Netherley and some of her family are still based in the North-east.
As well as her five Olympic medals, she also hauled in six World Championship golds to become one of Britain’s most respected athletes.
Dame Katherine quit rowing for two years after her gold medal triumph at the 2012 Olympics to finish her PhD but returned to win a fifth medal in Rio.
She was recently named a Dame and has been honoured for her charity work.