Athletics Australia today announces that Darren Gocher has been appointed Chief Executive, starting in his new role effective immediately.
Gocher will work with the Board and membership to help drive athletics to meet its strategic mission to be the largest participation sport in Australia and to achieve even greater success at the high performance level.
Gocher is passionate about athletics and with deep knowledge and experience within the sport, he was the CEO of Nitro Athletics - the extremely successful and innovative series, helping to revolutionise the sport globally. In addition, he is currently serving as Acting Commercial Director for Athletics Australia.
Professionally, Gocher is an experienced senior executive. Prior to Nitro Athletics, he was at News Corp, where he held the positions of General Manager of Business Operations and General Manager of Strategic Initiatives, amongst others. He was also the CEO of Penn Health and held various roles at Yahoo! over 12 years, including senior executive roles in the US, Singapore and India, as well as Australia. Gocher began his professional career at KPMG, spending almost 9 years with the company and is a qualified Chartered Accountant.
Gocher is an avid runner and regular parkrunner and has four children all participating in the sport. Gocher and his family have had an association with athletics at the grass roots level for some time, including involvement with Mosman Little Athletics Club, Sydney Striders Running Club, Ryde Athletics Club and School Sport. Gocher was previously a rugby league referee, officiating in the NRL as well as State of Origins and Test matches as a touch judge.
Athletics Australia President, Mark Arbib said, “Darren lives and breathes athletics, he has a deep understanding of the sport and will work tirelessly on behalf of athletes, coaches, officials and the entire athletics family.
“Darren will continue the drive to create Onesport, helping to further strengthen ties and affiliations to Little Athletics, Masters Athletics and parkrun. Commercially and from a high performance perspective, Darren did an outstanding job with Nitro Athletics, delivering an event that exceeded the expectations of the sporting world. Darren has the commercial and administrative skills to keep athletics growing strongly."
Darren Gocher said, “I am honoured to be given this opportunity. Athletics in this country has a rich history and the future is bright.
“We need to continue to invest in the right people and structures and innovate at all levels to ensure the sport continues to prosper. We have to ensure that athletes and coaches are given the support and structures they need to succeed at our home Commonwealth Games next year and continuing the focus and momentum into the next world championships and Tokyo 2020.”
Olympian and Athletics Australia selector Melinda Gainsford-Taylor has had a long association with Darren at the local level and said, “I am excited about Darren Gocher’s appointment as CEO of Athletics Australia. Not only does he have extensive grass-roots experience and a working knowledge of Little Athletics and Senior Athletics through his own family involvement, but he also offers the benefit of a comprehensive business background that has already seen him apply his commercial and organisational expertise to successfully deliver the ground-breaking Nitro Athletics series to the world. Importantly, he has always been passionate about athletics as a sport for all competitors, so it’s a wonderful time to welcome his leadership.”
Athletics Australia President, Mark Arbib also thanked chief operating officer Michael Hall for stepping up into the interim CEO position for the past period, stating; “Michael has done an outstanding job. His stewardship of the sport through an extremely successful world championship period is to be commended and we are lucky to have him in athletics.”