Monday, 22 Jul 2024

Henry Staelens: CEO, Forest Green Rovers

Meet Henry C. Staelens, the dynamic Chief Executive Officer of Forest Green Rovers. Despite leaving school at a young age, Henry’s journey led him to the football industry, where he took on the role of CEO at just 30 years old. In this interview, Henry discusses the club’s commitment to sustainability, navigating through the challenges of the pandemic, and his pride in being part of FIFA’s “greenest football club in the world.” Let’s dive in and discover more about Henry and his remarkable journey.

How did Henry Staelens enter the football industry?

Henry’s path into football was unconventional. After leaving school at 16, he ventured into developing and selling businesses before finding himself captivated by the opportunity to work at Forest Green Rovers. The chance to run and develop the club intrigued him, and he quickly realized the potential for strategic and commercial growth. Despite his non-traditional background, Henry’s passion for the sport and his drive to make a difference made him the perfect fit for the role.

Embracing the role of CEO at a young age

Did Henry feel pressure stepping into the CEO position at such a young age? Surprisingly, he did not. Henry’s confidence and belief in his abilities allowed him to approach the role with enthusiasm and a determination to succeed. While some may have been concerned about potential reactions to his appointment, Henry was unfazed. He quickly learned that football comes with its fair share of opinions, both positive and negative. However, he recognized that Forest Green Rovers’ unique approach to business, centered around their mission and values, set them apart from the rest.

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The Community and Sustainability

In addition to his role as CEO, Henry also oversees the Forest Green Rovers Community. The community work aligns perfectly with the club’s values and growth plans, focusing on initiatives that have a positive impact, such as tackling loneliness, educating children about the environment, and promoting vegan cooking. The club’s commitment to sustainability has not only earned them the title of “the greenest football club in the world” by FIFA but has also become an integral part of their decision-making process. It is ingrained in their DNA and drives every aspect of their business operations.

Noteworthy partnerships and initiatives

Forest Green Rovers prides itself on cultivating partnerships that align with their commitment to sustainability. They work with brands that share the same environmental values and avoid any relationships that may be perceived as greenwashing. This approach ensures that their commercial operations support their strong brand and ethos, promoting authenticity and positive change.

The exciting future of Forest Green Rovers

Forest Green Rovers is not content with resting on their laurels. Their short-term goal is to reach the Championship in football, while continuing to build on their financial success and global fan engagement. They are also working towards the development of an eco-friendly stadium known as Eco Park, set to be completed within the next few years. The details of this ambitious project are still in the works, but it promises to be a groundbreaking endeavor that reflects the club’s commitment to sustainability.

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A day in the life of a CEO

A typical day as the CEO of Forest Green Rovers is anything but ordinary. Henry embraces the unpredictability of the football industry and avoids falling into a routine. Internal meetings on Monday mornings help set the tone for the week, but the rest of his schedule depends on the most pressing matters at hand. Henry places a strong emphasis on autonomy and empowering his team to take ownership of their respective areas. This approach allows him to focus on the bigger picture and the club’s overall commercial performance.

Henry’s advice and future aspirations

For aspiring individuals hoping to enter the football industry, Henry advises showcasing your value and proving your worth to potential employers. By presenting innovative projects and demonstrating how your skills can drive fan engagement and increase revenue, you can create opportunities to get your foot in the door.

As for Henry’s own future in the football industry, his primary objective is to secure Forest Green Rovers’ financial stability in preparation for the Eco Park development. Beyond that, he remains open to whatever possibilities may come his way. Henry thrives on setting ambitious goals and making them a reality, and he looks forward to embracing each day and seeing what the future holds.


Henry Staelens, the CEO of Forest Green Rovers, has revolutionized the football industry with his commitment to sustainability and innovative approach to business. Under his leadership, Forest Green Rovers has earned the title of the “greenest football club in the world” and continues to push the boundaries of what is possible. With ambitious goals for the future and an unwavering passion for making a positive impact, Henry Staelens is a driving force behind Forest Green Rovers’ success. To learn more about the club and their inspiring journey, visit

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