Update on AU NSO CEO mix – better, but not good….

The upcoming Vicsport “Growing a Career in Sport” has a great mix of prominent & successful SSO CEOs, including Sportspeople Recruitment Alumni Andrea Pearman, Lisa Hasker OAM (She/Her) and Jennifer McIntyre, while our very own Angelique Everett will be on the panel.

The line-up prompted me to take a quick look at the current mix of National Sporting Organisation CEOs, particularly in light of a few recent high-profile resignations and appointments.

Greg Blood’s “Stocktake of Australian Sport CEOs” is a great reference point and Greg has updated this in February 2024 – here
41 active CEOs, of which 32 are male (78%) and 9 female (22%). 4 CEO roles are currently vacant, including the AIS, Gymnastics Australia, Netball Australia and Australian Taekwondo.

Churn has been relatively low throughout 2023-24, with 9 appointments overall (5 male & 4 female appointments).

The stock of female NSO CEOs certainly took a big hit in 2023/24 with the resignation of Alexandra Ash GAICD (Gymnastics Australia), Kelly Ryan (Netball Australia), Eugenie Buckley (Swimming Australia) and Heather Garriock (Australian Tae Kwon Do). While not a NSO CEO, the resignation of Chelsea Warr as CEO, QAS is also notable. Swimming Australia has subsequently announced Rob Woodhouse as the new CEO while recruitment is presently underway for Netball Australia and Australian Taekwondo with Gymnastics Australia to follow.

On the flip side, the appointment of Kim Crane as CEO, Paddle Australia (post Paris 2024) and Sarah Cook OLY (2023) as CEO, Rowing Australia are fine examples of good succession planning, the benefit of nurturing the internal leadership team and avoiding the need to go to market.

Compare this to my recent post – here – where I mentioned 1 in every 2 appointments made by a certain global, executive search agency operating in this space, actually resulted in half of their appointments being either the Acting CEO or an internal staff member.

Sportspeople Recruitment is proud of our merit recruitment record. While we have filled over 250 CEO roles across AU and NZ, you won’t see us recruiting every NSO CEO role that comes onto the market. We choose not to work with employers who insist on a predetermined appointment and simply want to run a recruitment process to tick a box. That’s also why our placement record of Acting CEO or internal candidates is so low compared to others operating in this sector.

Like you, we will be watching with interest the outcome of the current NSO ‘global search’ recruitment processes and in particular, which way the mix shifts.

We are about to announce two new CEO opportunities, likely to be live to market in March, 2024. The first is in New Zealand, leading one of the highest profile NZ NSOs and the other based in Melbourne, leading a successful SSO.

Stay tuned!

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