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Rowing Australia announces new performance focused structure

Rowing Australia (RA) today announced that the organisation has implemented a new operational structure. The new structure is designed to enable RA to adopt a sharper focus on producing elite performance at the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as building its capability in a number of key participation and development strategies.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Michael Scott, said that RA looked forward to working in conjunction with its key stakeholders to roll out the new structure. Mr Scott, who has been in the role with RA for five months, has developed the new structure following discussions with his leadership team and relevant stakeholders in order to better align the structure with RA’s Vision and Strategic Plan.

The new structure will aim to:

  • deliver an enhanced performance focus to maximise outcomes at the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games;
  • lay the foundation that will allow RA to achieve sustainable success through building capability within its key participation and development strategies;
  • provide greater direction and leadership in the national participation component of RA’s operations;
  • deliver improved resourcing and emphasis on the expansion and diversification of commercial revenues for RA; and
  • simplify and streamline RA’s business, governance and corporate practices.

The new structure will now see dual Olympic Gold medal coach Chris O’Brien deployed to the redefined role of National Team Performance Director, with a singular focus on maximising the performance outcomes at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

O’Brien will work on a daily basis with the seven priority crews that have already qualified for the Olympic Games and two crews already qualified for the Paralympic Games, as well as other crews that may qualify for those events. His experience will be critical in guiding Australian crews, subject to their selection, through their campaigns, including current World Champions Kim Crow (W1x), Erik Horrie (ASM1x), and Kathryn Ross and Gavin Bellis (TAMix2x).

Mr O’Brien said he was excited to take on his new role and to work with Australia’s best crews in pursuit of medals “We are just 10 months out from Rio and Rowing Australia has placed the emphasis on ensuring we display the best possible performances at the upcoming games and I am invigorated by this new structure and direction.

“Australia has successfully qualified a number of boats, and all athletes will now need to earn selection through their performances. We expect that this will create strong competition amongst Australian rowers for seats in Olympic and Paralympic boats which, coupled with the new structure, will produce success in Rio.”

With Mr O’Brien’s new role concentrating on the performances outcomes for the Senior Australian Rowing Team, CEO Michael Scott will oversee the high performance plans and program for Rio and the concurrent 2020 high performance planning process, along with managing key relationships with RA’s stakeholders; the AIS, AOC, APC and the State Institutes and Academies of Sport.

Jaime Fernandez will now take on the role of General Manager of Sport and will be responsible for supporting the operation of the Australian Rowing Team, the underage teams and talent pathway system, and providing leadership to the community and participation programs of RA.

In addition to the above, RA has also established a part-time Sport Strategist position to support the RA team with the delivery of its Rio performance goals and development of the 2020 High Performance Plan and National Participation Framework.

The position will report to the CEO and provide robust strategic analysis to the RA executive team to enhance the planning and systems across RA’s high performance and participation areas. RA is pleased to announce that Olympic medal winning coach and sports consultant Harald Jährling has been appointed to this role.

Alongside these key appointments, and to support the efficient operation of the performance focused structure, Matt Treglown will assume the position of Chief Operating Officer with responsibility for RA’s operational systems, governance and business practices. Completing the RA executive team is Kath Ginbey, recently appointed as RA’s first Chief Commercial Officer, who will drive the sport’s commercial and marketing strategies, including growing the reach and profile of rowing nationally and identifying new revenue streams across sponsorship, licensing, events and fundraising.

Scott said he looked forward to rolling out the new structure, “We are excited that the new structure will enhance all aspects of the organisation, and particularly in targeting elite performance in Rio. Australian rowing has a proud history of success and we believe that the new structure will enable RA to build on this tradition by facilitating an intense performance focus that will maximise our results in Rio.”