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No change at AOC while John Coates remains in post

No change at AOC while John Coates remains in post
August 25, 2017

Former Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) Chief Executive Fiona de Jong has responded to the release of yesterday’s Ethics Centre review into the AOC’s culture, suggesting that much of what is wrong with the body’s culture is a direct result of John Coates' Presidency.

The former Chief Executive of Australia's peak Olympic body believes nothing can change the organisation while Coates remains in the Executive President's role.

de Jong quit the organisation last October amid a number of bullying allegations against one of John Coates's key executives, Media Director Mike Tancred.

Her call comes after yesterday’s release of a damning independent review into the organisation.

In a statement de Jong advised that “(the review) validates the cultural concerns that I raised and actively tried to address in my time as the CEO. Many of those concerns highlighted in the report have resulted in good people over the years choosing to leave jobs that they loved at the AOC.

"(It is) convenient for the President to blame those who have left the organisation, or those that have raised complaints with him personally, and those who have been courageous enough to speak out publicly on the issue.

"But it's difficult to accept that the president can exclude himself from any responsibility for the culture of that organisation, particularly when he is the chair of the executive.

"He hires and fires the CEO and senior management. He makes key appointments for our Olympic team and has descended his ($700,000-plus) salary, because he is in the office actively involved in the workings of the organisation.

"I find it simply untrue for the President to deny his personal involvement in this culture, when he himself has acknowledged and apologised for his choice of words - quote: 'A sheltered workshop' - in his emails regarding staff suffering cancer.

"It was the President that secretly put in place a bonus scheme of $120,000 for Mr Mike Tancred, just one month after I had reported an issue by a member of staff against Mr Tancred, and one month after he was removed from my reporting line."

de Jong said she hoped some change could now be brought about in the AOC, telling the ABC "I more than many hope that this will bring about some meaningful change, and I wish the leadership every success in their efforts to do so.

"However I do believe that that's going to require courageous leadership from the CEO, every member of the executive, the athletes' commission, and the member national federation for them to do so."

de Jong said many of the recommendations made in The Ethics Centre report reflected the changes she tried to introduce as in the two-and-a-half years she was Chief Executive.

She added "I am of the belief that every person in an organisation needs to accept some level of responsibility for the culture of the organisation for which they work.”

Image: Fiona De Jong during her time at the Australian Olympic Committee. 

24th August 2017 - AOC PROMISES TO OVERHAUL INTERNAL CULTURE AFTER DAMNING REVIEW

5th July 2017 - AOC’S MIKE TANCRED GIVEN $125,000 BONUS DESPITE BULLYING ALLEGATIONS

14th June 2017 - MIKE TANCRED APOLOGISES FOR THREATENING FORMER AOC CHIEF EXECUTIVE 

9th June 2017 - AIS DIRECTOR MATT FAVIER MOVES TO HEAD HOCKEY AUSTRALIA

31st May 2017 - AOC MEDIA DIRECTOR MIKE TANCRED CLEARED OF BULLYING 

21st May 2017 - KIM BRENNAN APPOINTED AUSTRALIA’S CHEF DE MISSION FOR 2018 SUMMER YOUTH OLYMPICS

6th May 2017 - JOHN COATES WINS VOTE TO RETAIN AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE PRESIDENCY

27th April 2017 - AOC’S MIKE TANCRED STEPS DOWN FOLLOWING BULLYING ALLEGATIONS

24th April 2017 - AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE CALLS CRISIS MEETING AFTER THREAT ALLEGATIONS

13th April 2017 - AOC’S ANNUAL REPORT DETAILS $40,000 PAY RISE FOR JOHN COATES

28th March 2017 - FORMER CHIEF EXECUTIVE IN REPORTED DISPUTE WITH AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE 

16th March 2017 - MATT CARROLL NAMED NEW AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE CHIEF EXECUTIVE

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12th February 2017 - TOP SPORT ADMINISTRATORS IN PUBLIC DISPUTE AT MELBOURNE ATHLETICS EVENT 

13th December 2016 - KATE PALMER UNVEILED AS NEW AUSTRALIAN SPORTS COMMISSION CHIEF EXECUTIVE 

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