University of Leicester honours Leicester City FC's Chief Executive

King Power International's Senior Executive Vice-President and Chief Executive of Leicester City Football Club Susan Whelan receives honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

Susan Whelan, King Power International's Senior Executive Vice-President and Chief Executive of Leicester City Football Club, has been made an honorary graduate by the University of Leicester.

The University bestowed the honorary degree at its graduation ceremony on Thursday 17 January 2019 at De Montfort Hall in Leicester.

As CEO of the 2016 English Premier League champions Leicester City Football Club, and as Senior Executive Vice-President of the Club’s parent company, the Thai duty-free operator King Power International, Susan has played a key part in delivering success to two businesses owned by the Srivaddhanaprabha family, to whom she has become a long-time and trusted aide.

Professor Paul Boyle CBE, President and Vice-Chancellor, said: “Susan has achieved great business success. The honour we have given her acknowledges this, but it goes further and recognises the immense contribution she has made to the prosperity and reputation of this city, and to the sense of pride which we have in the community to which we belong. I am delighted to welcome Susan Whelan to our University family.”

Susan, who hails from Howth in Dublin, began her business career in her family’s jewellery business in Dublin before joining the Irish international airport and retail management company, Aer Rianta. She joined King Power in 1999 and now holds the position of Senior Executive Vice-President.

Joining the Leicester City Board of Directors as a representative of King Power following its takeover of the club in August 2010, Susan became Leicester City’s Chief Executive in July 2011. With Susan leading the owners’ long-term vision for a competitive Premier League club that could develop its brand internationally, Leicester were promoted to the top flight in 2014, fought off the threat of relegation in 2015 and improbably lifted the Premier League title in 2016 – famously defying pre-season odds of 5,000/1 in a story that captured the imagination of billions around the world.

Susan’s success in embedding King Power’s core family values into the DNA of Leicester City has rarely been better demonstrated than in the remarkable reaction to the helicopter accident in October 2018 that claimed the lives of Leicester City Chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four other people. Her leadership was crucial to the Club’s handling of the situation and a source of great strength to its deeply tested staff.

Speaking of her honorary degree, Susan Whelan said: “To join the University of Leicester’s esteemed list of honorands is a privilege beyond description. This city and its people has been through some extraordinary experiences together in recent times and I’m honoured to have shared in that journey. Like so many others, I have felt welcome in Leicester from the moment I arrived. It will always be special for me because of its unique sense of community, of togetherness and of family. To be honoured by one of that community’s most respected establishments is truly one of my proudest achievements.”