Foley, a former chief executive of Waterford Crystal, was an outstanding athlete back in the early 1970’s.
As an 800m runner he went on an athletic scholarship to McNeese State University, following in the footsteps of the late and legendary Fanahan McSweeney.
In 1975 he graduated from McNeese with a degree in Business Management and, on his return to Ireland, he worked with Johnson and Johnson in Dublin before being appointed director of marketing with Bord na Móna.
He later became marketing manager and sales and marketing director of Waterford Crystal, before being appointed chief executive in 2000.
Yesterday the president of Athletics Ireland, Liam Hennessy, was celebrating Foley’s appointment.
“We are delighted to have somebody of John Foley’s calibre to lead us into the future,” he said.
“An outstanding man in his field, he commands worldwide respect but what makes him an ideal choice from our point of view is that, apart from his background in management and marketing, he is a former athlete with a great love and understanding of the sport.
“Sports wise this has been a very successful year for us. At international level we had Mary Cullen and Derval O’Rourke winning medals at the European indoor championships, then we had Ciara Mageean medalling at world youths and David McCarthy at European U23 level.
“Then we had a very good world championships in Berlin with Olive Loughnane leading the way with her silver medal in the 20k walk and Derval O’Rourke and David Gillick also making finals.”
Meanwhile, the Olympic Council of Ireland yesterday announced the members of the OCI Athletes Commission for the period up to and including the 2012 Olympics in London.
The commission will be comprised of five Olympic athletes who have competed at either of the most recent summer and winter Olympic Games for Ireland and will be chaired by West Waterford race walker Jamie Costin.
The other members of the Commisssion will be: Ciara Peelo (vice chair, sailing), Derek Burnett (shooting), Rory Morrish (snow sports) and Richard Archibald (rowing).