Olympic long-distance swimming legend Kieren Perkins has been promoted to one of the most powerful roles in Australian sport.
The double gold medallist has been appointed chief executive of the Australian Sports Commission, the federal government’s agency that effectively decides how many sports are run and funded.
Appointed by Sports Minister Richard Colbeck, Perkins replaces Rob Dalton, who has been serving as the acting boss for nearly a year after Kate Palmer stepped down.
Perkins will take over in early 2022, relinquishing his job as president of Swimming Australia, who will begin the search for his successor next year.
“I could not be more thrilled and honoured to be appointed to lead the ASC as Australian sport looks forward to the 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Perkins said.
“It’s the most amazing opportunity to help shape participation and elite sport for Australia.”
One of Australia’s greatest swimmers, Perkins won a stack of Olympic, world and Commonwealth titles in his glittering, including back-to-back gold medals in the 1500m freestyle at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics.
Since hanging up his goggles, the 48-year-old has carved out a successful career in sports administration and business, holding a range of key roles with sporting bodies, banks and charity foundations.
“As one of our greatest ever Olympians, Mr Perkins brings first-hand experience of high-performance sport as well as an intrinsic understanding of the important role grassroots sport
plays in the health and wellbeing of all Australians,” Colbeck said.
“With a decade of major events on the horizon in the lead up to Brisbane 2032, there is plenty to look forward to in Australian sport and we look forward to Mr Perkins continuing to have a positive impact on our nation.”
Perkins will work closely with respected Sydney businesswoman Josephine Sukkar, who replaced John Wylie as the ASC chair earlier this year.
The first female chair of the ASC, Sukkar said Perkins was the perfect appointment for the CEO role with sports set to play a key part in the reopening of Australia after the pandemic.
“We are entering the most exciting decade ever in Australian sport and Mr Perkins is the right person to lead the ASC on this journey,” she said.
It was also announced that Lynne Anderson, the outgoing chief executive Paralympics Australia, has been appointed as an ASC board member for a three-year term.
One of the most respected sports administrators in the country, Anderson is also a member of the Sport Integrity Australia Advisory Council and served as chair of the NRL’s Bulldogs club.
“I am energised by Australia’s successful Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, which were a triumph despite the dauntingly difficult circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
The ASC Board will commence formal recruitment activities for a new Sport Australia CEO in the coming months and keep you informed of progress.