Just 5 months out of next week’s Commonwealth Games set in the Gold Coast, Australia, Swimming Australia, Limited found itself hunting for a new CEO, as Mark Anderson announced his departure to take over CEO of Collingwood Australian-rule football club. A dynamic candidate came to the forefront of possible replacements, however, as Swimming Australia has appointed Leigh Russell as its next Chief Executive Officer, effective April 16th.
The first woman to hold the role of CEO within the organization, Russell carries a robust resume, with experience across non-profits, business and major Australian sport. She is the former CEO of Netball Victoria and the Melbourne Vixens, as well as was GM People & Culture at Essendon Football Club. Of note, Vena Murray held the title of Executive Director within Swimming Australia back in the 1990s, a term equivalent with CEO in today’s terminology.
Swimming Australia President John Bertrand said of Russell’s selection, “Leigh is an exceptional, values driven and results focused leader. The breadth and depth of her experience with national and state sporting organizations, government stakeholders and elite sporting teams and growing the participation bases of sports will no doubt inspire our swimming community and drive the next level of our development.
“She is a highly impressive talent know for her collaborate leadership style and for building high performance culture.”
Looking forward to the opportunity, Russell stated of her appointment, “I am honoured to have been selected to lead a truly iconic sport that holds a special place in the hearts and minds of Australians.
“Swimming is genuinely a sport for everybody – of all ages and stages. It plays an important role in keeping Australians healthy & socially connected, alongside providing amazing opportunities for athletes to compete on the international stage. Swimming serves to inspire all of us and community participation is the cornerstone of this thriving sport”.
“I’m excited to bring my understanding of sport, from the grassroots to elite, and my expertise in sports leadership to Swimming Australia.
“I really look forward to working with our passionate swimming community to take the sport into the future. It’s also an incredible privilege to work with Alex Baumann and Jacco Verhaeren to help achieve outstanding success in the pool towards Tokyo and beyond,” Russell said.
Gold Coast hosts the 2018 Commonwealth Games with the opening ceremony slated for Wednesday, April 4th.