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Netball Australia CEO, Marne Fechner, Leaves For New AusCycling Role

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etball Australia chief executive officer, Marne Fechner, has announced she will resign at the end of 2020 to become the inaugural CEO of AusCycling.

Fechner, who was previously Netball Australia’s head of commercial and chief executive of the Netball World Cup Sydney in 2015 before being named CEO of Netball Australia, said it was a difficult decision to make, but “the lure of a new challenge was too compelling”.

“It’s been an honour to lead this sport over the past three and a half years and I’m immensely proud of what the Netball Australia team has achieved across my time with the organisation,” Fechner said.

“Our work in partnership with netball’s member organisations, Suncorp Super Netball clubs, our amazing athletes and passionate broadcasters and sponsors is at the core of what we do.

“Netball’s heartbeat lives in the thousands of volunteers and participants in communities around the country and I’ve been privileged to meet and work alongside so many wonderful people through a shared passion for the sport.

“The friendships and connections I’ve made through netball are part of who I am, and I want to thank everyone who has challenged, supported and inspired me during my time with netball and more recently as CEO.

“In particular, I want to acknowledge the board, executive and staff at Netball Australia, past and present, who have committed every day to ensuring netball in Australia thrives and that we keep striving for bigger and bolder outcomes for the sport, playing a bigger game as a beacon for girls and women’s participation in sport and in sport leadership, on and off the court,” she said.

Discussing her new role as CEO of AusCycling, the new national sporting organisation representing all cycling disciplines following a recent merger, Fechner said: “Australian cycling has a proud tradition but has also taken brave and future-facing steps to streamline its governance.”

“I’m honoured to lead a team that will drive evolutionary change for this sport,” she said.

During her time with Netball Australia, Fechner was a key driver of many netball initiatives including the development and launch of the Diamonds brand, establishment of netball’s national commercial framework, Australia’s most significant commercial partnership for women’s sport with Suncorp, the launch of Suncorp Super Netball, and many others.

Netball Australia chair, Paolina Hunt, said netball in Australia has been lucky to have Fechner’s input and commitment.

“This is the right decision for Marne (Fechner) but a sad one for netball,” Hunt said.

“Marne has been an outstanding leader for our sport.

“Her commercial acumen, personal integrity and strong leadership capability, together with her creative out-of-the-box thinking, have delivered ground-breaking outcomes for netball.

“Marne has built a tremendous platform from which the sport of netball can now re-imagine its future.

“We have been fortunate to have such a passionate, clever, caring and professional leader over what has been a period of significant change for netball.

“Marne’s commitment to excellence and living the values of our sport are well known.

“We will miss Marne, yet wish her well,” she said.

Australian Netball Players’ Association (ANPA) president, Nat Medhurst, said Fechner’s impact on Australian netball is unquestioned.

“Marne’s passion for our game cannot be questioned and her vision has enabled our sport and the athletes within it to grow and increase in professionalism and create a product that has attracted players from all across the globe,” Medhurst said.

“Marne’s approachability and desire to support the playing group over the years has allowed us as the Players’ Association to have a strong voice in ensuring the game continues to be the premier sport for young women and that the elite athletes are taken care of.

“It has been an absolute privilege to work with Marne over the years and wish her all the best for what lies ahead,” she said.

Netball Australia said it will start the search for a permanent CEO in 2021, naming Ron Steiner interim CEO.

Steiner, who has 40 years of executive experience in sport and business, said he will not be a candidate for the permanent role, but is excited to help lead Netball Australia through its transitional period.