Manuel Bandeira de Mello (POR) who has been appointed as the new FEI Endurance Director. Photo Hugues Siegenthaler/FEI
Staff changes at FEI Headquarters
Manuel Bandeira de Mello (POR) has been appointed as FEI Endurance Director to replace Ian Williams, who is due to retire at the end of December. The new Director takes up his post at FEI Headquarters next Monday, 1 December 2014.
Bandeira de Mello was selected following an intensive assessment process led by Odgers Berndtson Switzerland (OBS), a top international recruitment consultancy company in both the private and public sectors. OBS screened 30 applicants for the post prior to the final interview stage.
Manuel Bandeira de Mello, 54, served as Secretary General of the Portuguese Equestrian Federation for 13 years. Since 2001 he has been chef d'équipe for the Portuguese team at numerous FEI championships and was also chef de mission for the Portuguese team at three editions of the FEI World Equestrian Games™: in 2002 in Jerez de la Frontera (ESP), in 2006 in Aachen (GER) where Portugal won team bronze in Endurance, and in 2010 in Lexington, KY (USA). Before joining the FEI he was also Deputy Chair of FEI Regional Group I and Executive Board member of the European Equestrian Federation.
He has strong knowledge of equestrian sport through his work at the Portuguese Equestrian Federation and of Endurance as organiser of the FEI Endurance Open European Championship 2007 at Barroca D'Alva (POR).
Bandeira De Mello competed nationally and internationally in Jumping for 25 years, from 1972 to 1997, and was a member of the Portuguese team at the FEI European Jumping Championships for Juniors 1974 in Lucerne (SUI). He is married and has three children.
"I am very much looking forward to welcoming Manuel to the FEI," Ingmar De Vos, FEI Secretary General, said. "I have known and worked with him for many years and I am convinced his extensive experience in equestrian sport as an administrator, competitor, and organiser will be important assets for our organisation. We were looking for a candidate with deep understanding of the sport who would be able to take over the Endurance discipline for the long term and clearly we have found that in Manuel.
"Our new colleague will work closely with the outgoing Endurance Director Ian Williams in December and will take over the role fully in the New Year. I wish Manuel every success as the new FEI Endurance Director and am confident he will be a great addition to the team at Headquarters."
"I am really delighted to join the FEI as Endurance Director," Manuel Badeira De Mello said. "It is an honour and a privilege to serve equestrian sport at this level. I am looking forward to this exciting new step and to fulfilling this challenging role to the very best of my abilities."
At the same time as the FEI welcomes its new Endurance Director, it is also saying goodbye to a member of staff following the announcement by Veterinary Director Graeme Cooke that he is leaving FEI Headquarters for personal reasons after more than five years with the organisation.
Cooke's main goal since joining the FEI in August 2009 has been to improve the international movement of horses and he has been instrumental in not only creating the High-Health High-Performance horse (HHP) concept, but also getting it accepted by the World Organisation for Animal Health, the OIE.
"Graeme was brought in to the FEI with the key objective of opening up borders for competition horses and his tireless lobbying of the OIE has resulted in huge improvements," FEI President HRH Princess Haya said. "It's a very difficult balancing act between promoting the free movement of horses while assuring governments that sanitary barriers are still in place.
"As our sport becomes more global, the movement of horses across continents takes on even greater significance, so the work that Graeme has undertaken and what he has achieved are extremely important and we are indebted to him for it. We are of course sad to see him go, but we have to respect his decision and wish him well for the future."
"The FEI has been my home for the past five years and I'm going to miss it enormously, but I am leaving so that I can spend more time with my ageing parents," Graeme Cooke said. "I feel we've really made a big breakthrough in international horse movements and I'm proud that the FEI has led the way on that. It's an important chapter in equestrian sport history and I'm happy to have played a role in it."