The FEI is to restructure key positions within its Sports Departments across both the Olympic and non-Olympic disciplines. Bettina de Rham is to take over as Director of the Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage Department at the FEI. Mrs de Rham, who has been with the FEI since June 2008, will remain in charge of the Vaulting and Reining disciplines, and will add Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage to her portfolio after the Rio Paralympic Games in September.
Driving, which was previously under Mrs de Rham’s remit, will be taken over in September by Manuel Bandeira de Mello, who will also continue in his role as Director of Endurance.
The restructuring comes following last month’s announcement that Trond Asmyr, Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage Director since June 2009, had left the FEI due to ongoing health issues. He had been on long-term sick leave since August 2015.
Bettina de Rham (45), who is of Swiss and Dutch origins, is an amateur Dressage and Eventing competitor and an event organiser at national level. One of her first roles on joining the FEI included assisting in logistical coordination for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. “After eight years working with the non-Olympic disciplines at the FEI, I see this new role as a great opportunity at Olympic and Paralympic level”, Bettina de Rham said. “I’m really excited to take on Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage and am looking forward to the challenge of taking on this new expanded role. The four disciplines I will be looking after all have different subjective judging systems and I think there are areas where they could learn from each other.”
Carina Mayer, who was appointed Senior Manager and acting Head of the Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage Department in August 2015, will remain in that role until the end of September when she moves to Germany to take up a new role as Secretary General of the European Equestrian Federation in Warendorf.
Manuel Bandeira de Mello (56), former Secretary General of the Portuguese Equestrian Federation, was chef d’équipe for the Portuguese team at numerous FEI championships and was also Portuguese chef de mission at three editions of the FEI World Equestrian Games™. During his 13-year term at the National Federation, he organised the 2012 FEI World Singles Driving Championships in Lezirias (POR), acted as a referee at national Driving events during the 1980s and was a member of the Portuguese Driving Association (APA).
“I have been involved in Driving since I was a child when I used to drive a pair of ponies at home in Portugal”, Manuel Bandeira de Mello said, “so I’m very grateful to the FEI for offering me this chance to get back into the sport that I love, as well as retaining my current role as Endurance Director. I am thrilled to accept this new challenge later this year.”
In addition the FEI is planning to strengthen the two Sports Departments under Bettina de Rham and Manuel Bandeira de Mello with new hires as appropriate within both teams.
“We are delighted that we have such great in-house talent we can support in this restructuring exercise”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said. “This will guarantee a smooth transition internally here at FEI Headquarters, but also externally in our wider community. Bettina and Manuel are both well-known and highly respected within the sport and we have no doubt that they will settle into their new roles with confidence.”