Priest appointed chief executive of sports body after 32 years as chair


A Catholic priest who has chaired a sports body for the past 32 years has been appointed its chief executive. 

The National Association of Karate and Martial Arts Schools, an independent, not-for-profit organisation based in Kent that governs traditional and modern martial arts, said the Reverend Joe Ellis had become its chief executive on a part-time basis. 

The organisation, which has more than 40,000 members, said Ellis, who is also a professional karate instructor, had an “extensive martial arts background spanning 45 years” and was a recognised 8th dan black belt. 

“Notably, Reverend Ellis has successfully navigated the challenges of autism, a condition he experiences more acutely as he ages,” the organisation said. 

“His journey is a powerful reminder that individuals on the spectrum can achieve extraordinary success in their adult lives.”

NAKMAS, which has not previously had a chief executive, said the position was advertised “and suitable people were selected and interviewed”.

The organisation has three core staff plus a further three who provide administrative support. 

Ellis said: “Leaving my voluntary position after 32 years to become the newly appointed chief executive is exciting and a new challenge, but one that I will embrace with much enthusiasm.”

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