Olympic great Perkins to lead Australian Sports Commission

Ian Bushnell 2 January 2022
 Josephine Sukkar, Kieren Perkins and Richard Colbeck

ASC Chair Josephine Sukkar, incoming CEO Kieren Perkins and Federal Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck. Photo: ASC.

Olympic swimming great Kieren Perkins has been appointed chief executive officer of the Australian Sports Commission, the Canberra-based Australian Government agency responsible for supporting and investing in sport in Australia.

Mr Perkins will oversee high performance and participation in sport as the nation prepares for the Brisbane Olympic Games in 2032.

Best known as one of Australia’s greatest ever long-distance swimmers, Mr Perkins brings a wealth of corporate and sports administration experience to the role.

Most recently, he served as the president of Swimming Australia and has previously been a Commissioner of the Australian Sports Commission (2001-2007).

ASC chair Josephine Sukkar said the ASC was delighted to welcome someone of Mr Perkin’s calibre to this important role leading Australian sport.

“We are entering one of the most exciting decades in Australian sport and Kieren is the right person to lead the ASC on this journey,” she said.

“Kieren was selected from an outstanding field of candidates and his appointment is a result of his past experience, and the time he continues to re-invest back into Australian sport.”


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Mr Perkins said he was excited to be stepping into the role of CEO at the ASC.

“I could not be more thrilled and honoured to be appointed to lead the ASC as Australian sport looks forward to the 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said Mr Perkins.

“It’s the most amazing opportunity to help shape participation and elite sport for Australia.

“As an athlete and administrator, I have lived the importance of a symbiotic sport system that has strong grassroots participation, underpinned by volunteerism, helping uncover and develop the ambitious talent that will represent our country on the world’s biggest stages.

“My corporate experience gives me the business and relationship skills required to bring together the important stakeholders pivotal in ensuring sport flourishes.”

Mr Perkins said the decade leading to 2032 was a generational opportunity to build a lasting legacy for all sport “in an environment that allows everyone involved to safely live all of the positive life experiences sport can bring”.


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Federal Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck said: “As one of our greatest ever Olympians, Mr Perkins brings first-hand experience of high-performance sport, as well as an intrinsic understanding of the important role grassroots sport plays in the health and wellbeing of all Australians.”

Mr Perkins won successive 1500 metre Olympic gold medals in the 1990s. In 1992 he was named Young Australian of the Year and was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2002.

He was also a National Australia Bank executive from 2009 to 2021 and CEO of Australia Unity Bank (2021), in addition to sitting on a number of boards.

Mr Perkins will take up the role in the first quarter of 2022, with a start date to be confirmed.

In the interim, Rob Dalton will continue as Acting CEO.


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