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Sports Features of Friday, 14 September 2018


Can change manager Lucy Quist help reform Ghana football?

She is one of Ghana’s leading change managers, a respected business leader in Ghana's telecommunications industry, a trained engineer and a provider of innovative business solutions.

At 44, Lucy Quist has spearheaded or been a key part of change management in the corporate world or provided leadership in undertakings which have brought about transformation and left her imprint.

On Thursday, the 44-year-old trained engineer took a bold step into the male-dominated world of football management, as part of a FIFA-appointed group tasked to reform Ghana football for the next six months.

On Thursday, Lucy was named as part of a four-member FIFA Normalisation Committee responsible for shaping the future of Ghana football, a group led by business magnate, Dr Kofi Amoah. Other committee members include Mr Kofi Dua-Adonteng, a lawyer with strong football links; and Naa Adofoley Nortey, also a legal practitioner at the Attorney General’s Department.

The Normalisation Committee was formed by football’s world governing body and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in consultation with the government of Ghana to replace the Ghana Football Association’s Executive Committee, which was dissolved by FIFA on August 29. It follows the withdrawal by the government of court cases against the FA in the aftermath of an expose on massive corruption in Ghana football.

The four-member committee shall review the GFA statutes to ensure compliance with the requirements of FIFA and CAF, ran the day to day administration of the FA and conduct elections of a GFA executive committee on the basis of the revised GFA statutes for a six-month period.

As vice president of the group, Lucy will be at the forefront of the anticipated football reforms and will be expected to bring on board a wealth of experience as an international business leader and her unique qualities in business development and change management, which have seen the Ghanaian rise to occupy many influential positions and also won her many awards.

Currently, the CEO of technology and business solutions firm, Quist Blue Diamond, Lucy’s inclusion in the Normalisation Committee is a recognition of her exceptional leadership skills, high sense of integrity, strong governance orientation and her ability to manage change. And she loves the Beautiful Game, too.

Her appointment on the interim group represents another first in a stellar career that has seen her break many boundaries and led transformational initiatives. As CEO of Airtel, she was the first Ghanaian female head of a multinational telecom company and the first female to be crowned Telecom CEO of the Year, among many other honours.

Her presence in the committee could be likened to that of FIFA Secretary General, Fatma samba Diouf Samoura, who despite having no previous notable association with the sport, became world football’s top administrator in June 2016 on the back of a high reputation in corporate governance and compliance during her working years with United Nations agencies.

The 2014 CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year, Lucy may not be considered a hardcore football person, but close associates say she is a big fan of the game, an advocate for grassroots football during her time working for two of the biggest telecommunication’s companies in Ghana — tiGO and Airtel Ghana.

At tiGO, she managed the company’s sponsorship of Kumasi Asante Kotoko Football Club and sat on the club’s mmanagement board as the sponsor’s representative.

At Airtel Ghana, she championed the company’s CSR initiative, Airtel Rising Stars, dedicated to unearthing young talented grassroots footballers and giving them a platform to showcase their skills at the world stage. It was one of the most robust scouting platforms in the country — from zonal, through the district and regional to the national level — and across the African continent.

During her tenure as CEO of Airtel Ghana, many football stars were discovered, groomed and given the opportunity to fully realise their potentials at the national level.

The Airtel Rising Stars competition became a conveyor belt for discovering many great talents who were developed to represent the nation at various age competitions, with women’s football being the biggest beneficiary. Sandra Owusu-Ansah, Kubrah Abubakari, Florence Fosuaa Annor and Belinda Anane are all products of the Airtel talent hunting initiative as they represented Ghana at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup tournament in Costa Rica.

Priscilla Okyere, who was adjudged the best girls player at the maiden edition, went on to captain the Black Maidens to win bronze at the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan — Africa’s first medal at a FIFA-organised event for women.