Kate Palmer appointed Australian Sports Commission’s first female CEO after successful Netball Australia stint

By national sports correspondent Mary Gearin

Kate Palmer has been appointed the first female chief executive of the Australian Sports Commission.

Palmer has recently left a highly successful reign at Netball Australia where she oversaw massive surge in revenue, and a landmark pay deal for players.

The role became vacant when Simon Hollingsworth left the role shortly after the Rio Olympics.

Palmer says she is excited to take up the role.

“If that inspires other young female leaders to aspire to be either a CEO of a state or national sport organisation, to be on boards or to be the CEO of the Australian Sports Commission, I think that’s a wonderful thing,” she said.

Palmer’s strategic strength will be in immediate demand at the ASC.

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Her appointment comes at a critical time, in the wake of disappointing results in Rio, and as the commission enters the second Olympiad under its controversial Winning Edge funding model.

Palmer’s diplomacy will also be tested, after a public brawl between ASC chairman John Wylie and AOC President John Coates.

The two have appeared to reach a truce over Wylie’s proposition to create a UK-style lottery to raise up to $50 million for sport.

Palmer describes herself as a “huge fan of Winning Edge and what it is doing for sport in this country”.

She says she has been the beneficiary of all the ASC and AIS strategies of the past five years.

“For me success is about believing in that, setting those targets and actually making sure they’re big enough for us to have a sense of urgency about where we’re going and what we need to do,” she said.

Palmer’s appointment as the first women in the role in the ASC’s 31-year history comes as a group of CEOs release a report into what they have done to address the low levels of women in Australian sporting organisations.

The group, called Male Champions of Change Sport, comprises 11 chiefs of sporting organisations, and was formed 18 months ago.

Its convenor, Elizabeth Broderick AO, says women “remain under-represented in most sport organisations, particularly at the leadership and governance levels”.

“Though it has been a momentous year for women in sport in this country, with the success of our female athletes on the international stage driving greater visibility of women in sport, we need this to translate into greater female representation of women within sporting organisations,” Broderick said.

The reports say there has been “unprecedented transparency in gender reporting in sport organisations”.

Craig Tiley, chief executive of Tennis Australia, says “We are determined to build on the momentum for change and create more inclusive workplace cultures. It is a journey, and it will take time, but we are in it for the long-haul.”

This post originally appeared on ABC News.


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