BOSS – Nick GreenNick Green, the chef de Mission for the Australian Olympic team photographed in the AOC office in Sydney. 15 June 2012. Photo by Andrew Quilty. Photo: Andrew QuiltyAdrian Anderson’s imminent departure from Cycling Australia has opened the door for former Olympic team boss Nick Green to take over as CEO of an organisation in such dire financial shape it could receive a government bailout.
The Australian Sports Commission has forecast further major announcements for a sport that has produced brilliantly for Australia at high-performance level, while previous administrations have reduced the organisation to a financial basket-case domestically.
With this backdrop, key figures in cycling’s hierarchy are understood to have already identified retired champion rower Green as a potential candidate who could fill the position Anderson will vacate on May 9 after his six months as interim boss. And once a permanent CEO takes control, further change at the top of the sport’s national governing body may not be too far away.
Gerry Ryan, owner of trailblazing Australian professional road team Orica-GreenEDGE, assumed the CA presidency last November with encouragement from ASC head John Wylie. While Ryan remains passionate about the sport, and genuinely committed to seeing that CA becomes financially viable, it’s understood he does not see himself as head of the government-funded organisation long-term.
Since replacing Klaus Mueller as president, Ryan has driven CA – and Anderson, who was made interim CEO at the same time – to get to the bottom of the organisation’s considerable financial and governance woes. But Ryan’s interests in sport and business are many and varied.
After receiving a largely damning assessment from the ASC in a recent examination of all government-funded sports, there is still much ground for CA to make up. The organisation received $9.1 million from taxpayers last financial year, yet still finds itself in a deep financial hole. Neither Ryan nor Anderson have declared CA’s financial state publicly, but insiders have suggested to Fairfax Media it could be close to insolvent.
Cycling is among the top seven most funded sports by the ASC, and its allocation for 2012-13 was 62.5 per cent of CA’s total income.
While the majority of Olympic sports rely on ASC grants to be viable, cycling has gone through a boom time at most levels domestically – Cadel Evans’ Tour de France win was hugely significant for a sport that already had a high recreational uptake – but previous administrators have failed to turn popularity into profit.
Ryan and Anderson were brought in to help rescue a sinking ship.
In a memorandum sent to CA staff last week and published on the organisation’s website, Anderson, who had several extensions as interim CEO, referenced how a commercial joint venture struck in 2010 had proved disastrous. Following the signing of an exit deed earlier this month, the commercial joint venture was declared ”dismantled”.
The same memo confirmed Anderson would depart CA on May 9 after his agreement to one final short extension.
After nine years working as the AFL’s football operations boss, Anderson left the league in December 2012 and ventured into the wider world of sport. He took on a short-term consultancy job for Cricket Australia in February 2013 before his appointment at CA. Though he assumed the cycling post on an interim basis, it was unclear whether Anderson – who kept a very low profile during his tenure – was interested in remaining in the role, or would be considered suitable for the long term. Anderson is not expected to apply for the position of permanent CEO at cycling.
Green was chef de mission of the Australian Olympic team at the 2012 London Games. His name has been discussed by cycling insiders as a potential new CA chief executive. Neither Green nor Ryan could be reached for comment on Thursday.
A new nominations committee has been formed by CA to oversee the selection of a new ”skills-based” board – it will initially be reduced to an interim body of three before a full renewal – and CEO. Former NAB and BHP Billiton boss Don Argus is among the nominations for committee members, along with Netball Australia and Victorian Institute of Sport chief Kate Palmer, former federal sports minister Rod Kemp and ex-ASC chairman Peter Bartels.