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2023 World Champs Training Day 2-7077
Rowing AustraliaJun 25, 2024 10:53:44 AM2 min read

Rowing Australia welcomes Stephen Donnelley as new President, thanks Rob Scott for his service

Rowing Australia (RA) has welcomed Stephen Donnelley as its new President after the experienced administrator was elected to replace the outgoing Rob Scott at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Mr Donnelley was elected as a Director at the AGM in May but did not officially take his place until June 20, when Mr Scott retired after serving as RA President for a decade and leading a period of transformation and growth for Australia’s fourth most-successful Olympic sport.


After serving as President of Rowing NSW since 2016, Mr Donnelley now steps into the same role at the helm of the national governing body just weeks out from the start of the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Mr Donnelley joined the Board of Rowing NSW in 2015 as Deputy President and became President the following year. He has extensive experience as a board director through his commercial activities, has chaired remuneration and safety and occupational health committees and has experience as a director with not-for-profit organisations.

His involvement in rowing began in 2004 as a volunteer assisting the Scots College rowing program. He has coached several schoolboy and schoolgirl crews and is a strong supporter of the development of school rowing.

“It is a great privilege to be elected as President of Rowing Australia and I thank my fellow Board members for their vote of confidence as we step into a new era for the sport off the back of the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Mr Donnelley said.

“Rob has set the gold standard for sports administration and governance among Australia’s National Sporting Organisations and rowing has taken enormous strides under his guidance. 

“I am committed to ensuring we continue to grow, strive and evolve and set ourselves up for further success across all levels of rowing throughout the country.”

Mr Scott, an Olympic Silver Medal winner (Atlanta 1996, Men’s Pair) and distinguished business leader as Managing Director of Wesfarmers, has presided over series of major milestones and developments during his tenure, which began in 2014.

Those include:

  • The establishment of the National Training Centres in Canberra and Penrith 
  • Pursuing a whole-of-sport strategy ensuring a clear and contemporary vision and purpose 
  • Overseeing innovations such as Coastal and Indoor Rowing
  • Expanding Para-Rowing, making the sport more accessible 
  • Providing high-level engagement with philanthropic partners and supporting the management of key sponsors 
  • Overseeing the establishment of the Rowing Australia Foundation and is serving as the inaugural Chair 

“It has a great honour to have been able to give back to a sport that gave me so much as an athlete,” Mr Scott said.

“My thanks go to all the directors and staff who have given me their support along what has been a hugely fulfilling journey.

“I know Stephen and the Board will continue to strive for excellence as we embark on a memorable journey to a home Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2032 and create a long-lasting legacy for rowing in Australia.” 

In other Board developments, Rachael Kininmonth was re-elected as a director, while six nominees for Life Membership – including Mr Scott - were endorsed: Adair Ferguson OAM ASM, Craig James OAM, Chris Noel OAM , Kate Allen (nee Slatter) OAM and Megan Marcks (nee Still) OAM.

The full Rowing Australia Board comprises: Stephen Donnelley (President), Malcolm Batten OAM, Georgia Beattie, Brigadier Alison Creagh AM CSC (RETD), Ben Dodwell, Rachael Kinninmonth, Sally Leake, Richard Finlayson, Luke Letcher (Athlete Representative).