Is Nick Green about to exit Cycling Australia?
The ‘Summer of Cycling’ is effectively over in Australia for another year. But the action is about to heat up in administration land. What comes next for Cycling Australia?
In September 2014, it was announced that a former rower would take over the role of CEO at Cycling Australia. Nicholas ‘Nick’ Green OAM had done good things as an athlete. He would win a few medals in his time and there would be a life in sport once he stopped competing.
Green would become Chef de Mission for the Australian team at the London Olympics and then, the plan seemed, he’d be primed for a position at the AOC (or IOC) that would suit his strength as a member of the so-called ‘Olympic family’. That’s when the gig with Cycling Australia came up.
But word on the street is that Nick Green’s tenure with the federation is soon coming to an end. It has been a while in the making and it’s yet to be confirmed but RIDE Media understands that an announcement is due to be made later this week.
Green had been a member of the AOC until April last year when he informed John Coates that he would not stand for re-election. A reason given was illness in his family.
By then he had been in the role of CEO for Cycling Australia for some time, but all has not been well during a turbulent time for the organisation that has been struggling financially for years.
“One of the things that I see very clearly around hosting cycling events is the magnitude of stakeholders that have to be aligned for the [NRS] to be successful,” he told RIDE Media in one of many interviews during his time at CA.
The national road series was one talking point that was able to generate plenty of commentary from cycling stakeholders. The NRS has constantly been under review during Green’s tenure and, in 2018, it seems as though it may get some traction again… but only after a difficult period for domestic road cycling competition.
Nick Green (above) sits back on the lawn near the Geelong waterfront in January 2018 to watch the action unfold on the big screen.
Photo: Rob Arnold
Green talked the talk and insisted that he would right the ship that had been steered in a wayward direction, particularly after a dalliance with a company known as Grass Roots, managed by Michael Edgley. Financially, Cycling Australia was in strife when Green arrived, but the sport was prospering in terms of interest that was being generated by the actions of Australian riders on the national and international stage.
Still, as CEO, Green has endured plenty of backlash. It took years for his “review of the NRS” to yield any action. And the ongoing obsession was the quest for Olympic gold was beginning to impact on other elements of CA’s charter.
All along, Green has been unapologetic about continuing to foster the ASC’s remit of winning Olympic medals.
Green came to cycling not long after serving as Chef de Mission for the Australian team at the London Olympics in 2012.
Photo: Rob Arnold
RIDE Media has reported on many of the machinations at CA for almost 20 years and, for a long time, there was positive commentary. In recent years, however, the trials that the administration faced prompted an Open Letter to Cycling Australia, urging the federation to consider all of its stakeholders and take advantage of the glut of interest in cycling.
It concluded: “In recent times there have been numerous opportunities that were ripe for the promotion of cycling and yet the approach by CA has failed to capitalise on what is presented.”
Green didn’t respond well. He took it as a personal attack on him, rather than as constructive criticism and responded with a terse phone call, suggesting that RIDE Media had begun a “smear campaign” against him and the federation.
The open letter gained plenty of traction with the broader cycling community and questions that had long been whispered started to appear on social media forums. It didn’t take long before the frustrations of CA members and other cycling enthusiasts were aired… and Green took the brunt of it.
It was under Green’s guidance that CA began the search for a new high performance director following the Rio Olympic campaign and numerous suitable candidates responded with applications. Early in 2017, Simon Jones was named as the man who would guide competitive cycling in Australia towards the Tokyo Olympics.
Exactly who will replace Green should it come to be that he will indeed no longer be Cycling Australia’s CEO remains to be seen. There are some prominent campaigners who have been earmarked for positions of power in the administration, but we wait to see exactly what roles they have with the federation moving forward.
We wait for the official announcement of Green’s departure and recognise that illness in any family must take priority over any job.
– By Rob Arnold
Update: Steve Drake the new CEO
Cycling administration in Australia has official begun going through some much needed changes. Earlier today RIDE Media reported that it was likely that an announcement about Nick Green standing down as CEO was due. (See above.) That has happened and, the statement tells us, the replacement for Green is former cyclist, Steve Drake.
In a manner that has been typical of the administration in recent years, the official release was circulated to some media – but not all. It has not yet been published on the federation’s own site.
Note: the reasons given by Green do not relate to illness in the family, rather that he is pursuing a role in “the private sector”.
“I am extremely proud of the progress and achievements during my time as CEO, and pleased that Steve will inherit a strong national federation,” states Green in the official release.
“I have seen enormous and positive change over the past three years; it is now timely for me to take on a new professional challenge and I have accepted an opportunity in the private sector.”
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RIDE Media has spoken with the new CEO, Steve Drake, and welcomed him to the position.
We will continue to report on the developments at Cycling Australia.