Dirty Pro new Oz CEO

From Stawell to CEO: Athletics Australia names new chief

Athletics Australia President Rob Fildes has today named former Stawell Gift winner Dallas O’Brien as the new Chief Executive Officer of the national sporting body and the man charged with leading Australian track and field into the 2010 Commonwealth Games and beyond.

O’Brien joins the organisation after 18 years with international sports management company IMG as Executive Tournament Director - Golf and more recently, Director of Athletics and Fitness for the Asia-Pacific region.

A former fitness advisor to St Kilda Football Club (1988) and Board Director of the Victorian Athletic League (1992-93), O’Brien launched IMG’s Athletics and Fitness division in 2000 and went on to record major successes within the Australian triathlon, ironman and recreational running arenas.

In 2006 O’Brien negotiated the purchase of the Melbourne Marathon and in just four years increased participation numbers by 480 per cent.

In addition to his impeccable professional record, O’Brien boasts a 12-year sporting career that is highlighted by the British professional 400m championship in 1982, victory in the Stawell Gift in 1983 and the Australian professional 200m title in 1986.

The new athletics chief said he was looking forward to throwing his support behind the organisation and its senior representative team, the Australian Flame.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to continue the excellent work that Rob Fildes, Danny Corcoran and the whole Athletics Australia team are doing at the moment,” O’Brien said.

“Athletics is a sport I have a huge passion for. This, combined with my commercial experience in sport, means I believe I can make a real difference. I look forward to working with the many stakeholders within the entire athletics community and, most importantly, to throwing my total support behind the very talented Australian athletics team, the Flame.”

Mr. Fildes said the appointment was a coup for Australian track and field.

“Athletics Australia is very excited by the appointment of Dallas O’Brien from a very large field of quality candidates and I’m sure Dallas will continue the excellent work Danny Corcoran has achieved in his six years in the sport,” Mr. Fildes said.

“Dallas brings much commercial knowledge and valuable experience from his position as Director of Athletics and Fitness for the Asia-Pacific region with IMG, and we look forward to Dallas enjoying a very successful future with Athletics Australia.”

Following the departure of outgoing CEO Danny Corcoran after almost six years at the helm of the organisation, O’Brien will enter the Australian athletics arena as the sport moves through one of its most significant purple patches on record.

In 2009 the Australian athletics team turned on its most successful world championships campaign of all time with two gold (Steve Hooker – pole vault, Dani Samuels – discus throw) and two bronze medals (4x400m relay, Mitchell Watt – long jump) in Berlin (GER), and in March this year claimed two gold (Steve Hooker – pole vault, Fabrice Lapierre – long jump) and one bronze medal (Mitchell Watt – long jump) at the world indoor championships in Doha (QAT).

O’Brien will step into the role as the nation’s top track and field athletes continue the countdown to the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, in October, where the largest Australian athletics team ever to attend a major international meet is expected to don the green and gold. Sixty-nine track and field athletes have so far been nominated for inclusion to the team.

O’Brien will commence in his new role on Monday, June 15 following a handover period with the outgoing CEO.
Australian athletics jumps into Asia

In other news announced by Athletics Australia President Rob Fildes today, Australia now looks increasingly likely to take part in next year’s Asian Athletics Championships in Kobe, Japan, in the lead-up to the 2011 IAAF world championships.[/b]

After four years of discussions with the Asian Athletics Association, Mr Fildes will meet with Association delegates in New Delhi, India, this October, in a bid to shore up Australia’s athletics involvement within the Asian region.

“Athletics in Asia is growing both in interest and performance so it’s an exciting time to be joining the 45 nations already invited to participate in the Asian Athletics Championships,” Mr Fildes said.

“We are not quite over the line yet but I am hopeful of finalising an agreement with the Asian Athletics Council during the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.”

The regional equivalent of Great Britain’s entry to the prestigious European Athletics Championships, Australia’s inclusion in the Asian Athletics Championships would provide important competition opportunities for the nation’s top track and field athletes ahead of next year’s world championships in Daegu, South Korea, and open the door to fostering greater ties with key Asian partners including China, India and Japan into the future.

As with Football Australia’s inclusion in the Asian Confederation in 2007, it is hoped the move would give Australia’s top track and field athletes increased opportunity to compete against the world’s largest population base within their very own backyard and position the sport at the forefront of entry into a burgeoning Asian sports arena. Unlike Football Australia’s move, Athletics Australia’s entry into the Asian Athletics Championships would in no way impact on its status within the Oceania region.

The Asian Athletics Championships were first held in Manila (PHI) in 1973. The last edition of the meet was held in Guangzhou, China, in 2009, with the 2011 championships to be held in Kobe, Japan, in July next year and the 2013 meet on track for the Indian subcontinent.

Rather provocative headline, KK. Might be tongue in cheek but I reckon it’s unnecessary to refer to Dallas as ‘dirty’.

Dallas last ran on the pro circuit over 20 years ago and won the Stawell Gift in 1983. He also won the Bay Sheffield in SA in 1979. Coincidentally Dallas was coached by Neil King to win Stawell in 1983, and of course King was Athletics Australia CEO for 7 years in the 1990’s.

I saw him run some very good quarter miles off tight marks in the mid 80’s. Dallas would have been a very handy 400m runner quite probably sub 47s had he been allowed to run amateur when in his prime. However he was destined for the world of pro-running as his father W X O’Brien was a former runner, trainer, steward and handicapper who ran in two Stawell Gift finals - 5th in 1950 and 3rd in 1958.

Dallas also played football in the VFA for Sandringham and a little known fact is that he was in the VFA Under 19 all star team in 1978 that played againt the Vic Amateur U/19’s. (I played for Brunswick in the VFA and trained for the U/19 all star team in 1979 but missed selection…)

It certainly isn’t Dallas’s pro-running record that won him the job but clearly his involvement at IMG in high level sports marketing which involves major golf tournaments as well as the events listed in the article.

Dallas doesn’t suffer fools and it is a very interesting appointment and is likely to ruffle a few feathers as he won’t ‘just go with the flow’ which seemed be the way of his predecessor. He certainly will shake things up as he’s very assertive and has strong views on the way the sport can improve its profile.

Might be an inspired appointment.

Definitely tongue in cheek PY

You are way too sensitive :slight_smile:

First edict: all snowwhite amateurs must soil their lycras by entering the pro circuit before they will be permitted to run at the Nationals. LOL luv it.

Seems like a stronger case for CEO than DC. DC came from being in charge of the Football department, to me that is more like a group manager not the CEO of a business.

I don’t know Danny, a not trying to soil his name. I can’t imagine myself being say CFO of a business when I could only be capable of being a group accountant.

Good Luck Dallas, hopefully he get an increase in numbers, retention of athletes and more sponsorship in the sport.

Good point DMA. I felt Danny Corcoran did OK but was not a genuine leader and wasn’t solid enough to deal with the many factions and the self interest that is present in our sport.

Dallas is a ‘harder’ individual, more in line with the CEO of the NRL (Gallop) the AFL (Demetriou) or RU (O’Neil) and will drive the sport forward regardless of the nonsense, red-tape & prejudice that constantly drags the sport down.