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Australian Sailing welcomes new CEO

by Elizabeth Sersta 20 Mar 23:11 PDT
Newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of Australian Sailing, Ben Houston © Australian Sailing

Australian Sailing is pleased to announce the appointment of Ben Houston as Chief Executive Officer.

Houston brings a wealth of commercial, corporate governance and legal experience to the role as he looks to take the governing body for the sport through the next phase of its One Sailing evolution.

As current President of Commonwealth Games Australia and as a past President of Triathlon Australia with over a decade as Supervising Counsel at Telstra, Houston is a widely respected sport and legal professional.

"It is a great honour to join Australian Sailing. Sailing has played a significant role in creating our national identity, and I am excited about the opportunity to create a stronger connection with our sport and the sailing community" Houston said on his appointment.

Houston is excited to join Australian Sailing, a sport he grew to love learning to sail lasers on the waters of Bundaberg in his youth.

He will set to work immediately on strengthening ties with clubs, classes and associations across the country as he continues the work done on the One Sailing governance model by previous CEO John Lee. He will also work with the athletes and coaches of the Australian Sailing Team, as they enter the business end of their preparations for next year's Olympic Games in Japan.

Houston's strong business acumen was an attraction for the selection panel, having over two decades of experience in negotiating major sports sponsorship, media and digital rights deal including working with the Telstra Group Executive to negotiate Telstra's digital rights deals as part of the multi-billion-dollar deals with the AFL and NRL.

As a former lead of Telstra's National Sponsorship program, Houston has valuable sports industry experience and was responsible for managing Telstra's multi-million-dollar sponsorship portfolio of sports and arts properties and national sporting events.

"After an extensive search, the Board of Australian Sailing could not be happier with the appointment of Ben as our next CEO. He brings a unique mix of legal, commercial and governance experience along with an understanding of the needs of all of our stakeholders," said President of Australian Sailing, Matt Allen.

Allen also credited previous CEO Lee for the progress made under his tenure.

"John led Australian Sailing through one of the most significant changes in the governance of our sport. There can be no doubt that our sport is in a better place thanks to his work."

Houston will commence in the role first week of April.

About Australian Sailing

Australian Sailing's performance arm is in partnership with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and supported by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and Australian Paralympic Committee (APC). The Australian Sailing Team (AST) is the national representative team for Olympic and Paralympic class sailing. The Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) is the development program of the Australian Sailing Team (AST) and provides the pathway from elite youth to Olympic level competition.

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