Cycling Australia announced today that Gerry Ryan will succeed Klaus Mueller as President of the national cycling body. Currently known in cycling circles for providing financial backing to the Orica-GreenEdge team, the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and various state institutes, Ryan now takes the unprecedented step of moving into a senior governance role for Cycling Australia.
Ryan brings to the position a depth of business knowledge essential to modernise Cycling Australia but this remains contrasted against what some people are already labeling a conflict of interest as he is also the main financier to Australia's only WorldTour team.
The appointment of Ryan consolidates his influence on Australian cycling. Aside from his long term support of the AIS, Ryan has also provided backing to major events on the Australian cycling calendar including the Herald Sun Tour, the Tour Down Under and the Bay Classic Series.
Mueller resigned from his role as president in August of this year after one and half terms in the role. The appointment of Ryan followed a series of board meetings over the weekend in Melbourne with the announcement of a new CEO expected in the new year.
In the last 12 months Cycling Australia has undergone key personal changes. Former Vice-President Stephen Hodge stood down following an admission of doping throughout his career. Hodge was followed by CEO Graham Fredericks and later Mueller, who both resigned.
Cycling Australia also sacked Orica-GreenEdge director sportif Matt White from his role as Cycling Australia's road coordinator in October last year. Following White's admission to doping throughout his career his position was seen as untenable by Cycling Australia. White was reinstated to his position at Orica-GreenEdge prior to this year's Tour de France.
Over the summer of 2012/13 the organisation underwent administrative and governance reform to toughen its anti-doping policy. This was extended to an internal review of staff.
“I look forward to helping CA move forward in a more commercially viable manner,” Ryan said in a statement from Cycling Australia.
“We currently have Australian world champions in each of the Road, Track, MTB and BMX disciplines, we’ve won stages in each of the three men’s grand tours for the first time ever this year and we recently crowned Caroline Buchanan as the youngest ever female winner of the “Oppy” cyclist of the year medal."
“However, there is certainly restructuring required to tighten processes and reduce the inefficient duplication of resources.” said Ryan, who will be joined by experienced former AFL administrator Adrian Anderson in the role of interim chief executive officer until February, when a permanent CEO will be recruited.
“I look forward to working closely with Adrian over the coming months to create a collaborative environment that continues to deliver champion riders across the four disciplines, but does so in a manner that is underpinned by sound business principles,” Ryan said.