High Growth Olympic Sport Recruits Business Leader as President

A senior executive with Consolidated Press Holdings is to lead one of Australia’s fastest growing Olympic sports it was announced today.

Mr Sam McKay, who is in charge of brands at CPH in his role as Managing Director- Consumer has been appointed President of Gymnastics Australia.

Mr McKay was appointed to the GA Board after an extensive search for a new member and was subsequently unanimously elected by the Board to the position of President.  Mr McKay will chair his first GA Board meeting in February.

Outgoing GA president Ms Jacqui Weatherill will remain on the GA Board and has been elected to the council of gymnastics’ global governing body, the Federation of International Gymnastics (FIG).   Ms Weatherill will also continue to play a role in the development of Gymnastics in the Oceania region. 

Mr McKay said he was delighted to join GA at a time of extraordinary growth in gymnastics across the nation.  

“Our sport has over 180,000 registered participants - a rise of 150 percent since the Sydney Olympics. We need to build on that success and become a consistent contender for Olympic medals,” Mr McKay said.

“Gymnastics in this country will soon be ready to announce a new growth strategy based on the findings of a comprehensive review of our high performance program for elite athletes commissioned by the GA board mid-year. We want to ensure that our elite gymnasts have the support they need to compete effectively on the international stage,” Mr McKay said. Mr McKay’s appointment also coincides with the roll out of the new strategic plan for Gymnastics in Australia, which was developed in conjunction with State and Territory associations, along with other key stakeholders in the sport. 

The recruitment of Mr McKay to the GA presidency would provide further momentum to gymnastics’ growth in Australia, Ms Weatherill said.

“During my two and half years as president of GA, our Board’s focus was on governance and restructuring the high performance pathway for our sport’s emerging stars. Much of the building blocks for success are now in place and gymnastics is fortunate to have someone of Mr McKay’s business acumen to continue to grow the sport during the next four-year Olympic cycle,” Ms Weatherill said.

The chairman of the Australian Sports Commission, Mr John Wylie and the President of the Australian Olympic Committee, Mr John Coates today both welcomed Mr McKay’s appointment.

Mr Wylie said the incoming GA president was a “well respected and high profile figure in the business community who understands the business of sport and its development needs.”

“The new president is fortunate to follow Jacqui Weatherill who has done an excellent job of building gymnastics in Australia from the grassroots up,” Mr Wylie said.

Mr Coates, who is also First Vice President of the International Olympic Committee and Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, said “I look forward to working with Sam, particularly in opening the door for cooperation initiatives with the Japanese Gymnastics Federation (whose gymnasts won two Gold and one Bronze medal in Rio) and the new President of the International Gymnastics Federation, Morinari Watanabe, who is from Japan and committed to helping our team in the lead-up to the Games and gymnastics in Australia to develop generally, when we met recently”.  

“Sam has worked extensively in Japan and understands the opportunities that the next Olympics in Tokyo present” said Mr Coates.   

Along with his current professional role, Mr McKay is also Chairman of kikki. K (since 2011), Director of the Packer Family Foundation (since 2014) and Member of the Salvation Army Eastern Territory Advisory Board (since 2013). He is also former CEO of Jurlique International.  

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Leah Bradford
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