Swimming Australia boss QUITS just 18 months after the Paris Olympics following a bombshell letter from swimming’s key stakeholders
- Eugenie Buckley, CEO of Swimming Australia, has resigned
- Comes after a call for a review on the SA government
- Leave SA without a major sponsor ahead of the Olympics
Eugenie Buckley, CEO of Swimming Australia, has resigned from her position with immediate effect, less than 18 months before the Paris Olympics.
Buckley, who took over from Alex Baumann in October 2021, is credited with leading the organization through a major corporate restructuring and improving its financial position.
In a statement released by Swimming Australia, SA President Michelle Gallen expressed her gratitude to Buckley for her tenure in the role.
“Eugenie has guided the organization through the major challenges of corporate restructuring and improving our financial position,” said Gallen.
“She leaves us in a strong position to move forward, with a clear strategic direction to 2032 to build performance, trajectories, participation and sustainability.
“I sincerely thank Eugenie for her hard work and determination and wish her well in future endeavors.”
Eugenie Buckley, CEO of Swimming Australia, was at the center of calls for an overhaul of governance before stepping down ahead of the Paris Olympics
Following Buckley’s resignation, Steve Newman will serve as interim CEO until a global search is made for a permanent replacement.
The news comes after a group of major swimmers in Australia sent a letter bomb to Buckley and the regulator’s board in December, calling for an urgent and independent review of the board.
News Corp had reported that some of swimming’s biggest movers and shakers had expressed strong reservations about Buckley’s leadership style, with a confidential letter to SA’s board of directors requesting an independent review of how the sport is being run.
The letter was signed by each president of the state’s swimming association in the country, the National Swimmers’ Union, Coaches and Teachers Association, and the Northern Territory.
The stakeholders had lost faith in the SA leadership and called for drastic changes to save the sport from further ruin, stating that the current culture and behavior of the Director of Swimming Australia are not in line with the stated values and strategic objectives of the sport.
Australia’s Alicia Coutts, Melanie Schlanger Brittany Elmslie and Cate Campbell win gold in the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay at the Tokyo Olympics
Ariarne Titmus of Australia celebrates her victory in the women’s 400m freestyle at the Tokyo Games
Gina Rinehart, executive chair of Hancock Prospecting, had also recently withdrawn funding from Swimming Australia while continuing to provide direct support for swimmers.
That means that Swimming Australia has no major sponsor despite its success at the Tokyo Olympics, where Australia equaled its best-ever record of 17 gold medals also achieved in Athens in 2004.
Gallen had previously confirmed that the board of Swimming Australia had received the letter calling for a review of the board.
“Our states all have such diverse needs and diverse memberships,” she told News Corp. in December.
“It’s their job to advocate for what’s in their best interest, and it’s our job to rule in the best interest of the sport as a whole, so there will inevitably be some natural tensions in that relationship.
“We remain absolutely committed to open and honest dialogue with all our stakeholders to address any challenges, while ensuring that we continue to work together to ensure we move our sport forward during this decade of tremendous opportunity. ‘