OTTAWA, ON: As Canadian figure skaters prepare for the upcoming season, there will be a new leadership structure taking the organization into the 2012-2013 season and beyond. CEO William Thompson has announced his retirement as he moves on from the organization. Thompson took on the role as interim CEO in January of 2006, and then the full-time role in the fall of that year. He was at the helm as Canada won two Olympic medals at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.
Skate Canada President, Benoît Lavoie, appreciated the time that Thompson gave to the organization, “William stepped into this role and immediately brought positive change to Skate Canada. He recognized the need to bring in new talent to key roles in our organization and he helped us implement a completely new Board structure. We wish William all the best as he moves on to new challenges.” “I’ve enjoyed the challenge of leading Skate Canada for the past six years, and I’m proud of what the organization has achieved in that time,” said Thompson. “I'm especially proud of the accomplishments of the athletes I’ve had the privilege to work with.”
The Board plans no immediate search for a CEO said Lavoie. “We have a very experienced, capable senior management team. We know that they will continue their fine work as a leadership group, while the Skate Canada Board focuses on its role of governance of the association."IMO the way this news release is framed is misleading. There is no leadership change or new structure. There's a vacate of a presumed leadership position, and a decision to leave it vacant.
There's the statement that the "capable senior management team" "will continue their fine work" - not assume new responsibilities. So who will be "leading"? If the hierarchy has been restructured, SC isn't sharing. If there's nobody to take his place and no rush to find someone, and no restructuring, what purpose has Thompson served the past 6 years?
Speaking of no purpose, there's Debbi and Barb. As egregious as both are, the buck stops with Thompson - he hired them. Let's face it, an unpaid high school intern could do what Barb does, and better. There are retired SC skaters more telegenic, intelligent, and less obnoxious than Debbi, but do they know where the bodies are buried? Do they have enough goods to guarantee a personal internet showcase on Skatebuzz?
The timing is interesting, for sure. Just prior to Worlds in London. Goes without saying everyone at the management level of SC (mostly) have shown themselves to be self-serving, and vacating the CEO position means somebody feels Thompson is a liability - either Thompson feels the position is a liability and he better duck out while the ducking is good, or Lavoie and the Board feels he's a liability.
What defines "Senior Management Team"? SC has a bunch of infamous Directors. Are THEY "senior management"? To whom do they report now that Thompson is gone? Does this mean no light show in London? Did his awful public remarks about London - home of the Olympic champions, one of the rare Canadian cities that turns out big for figure skating, a town that knows how to organize and run a figure skating event - become the nail in Thompson's coffin? I suspect it did. Thompson condescended to and insulted London over an extraneous component of its Worlds production that had absolutely nothing to do with the actual skating event, and presented himslf as a know-it-all in an area where he's a proven know-nothing. The degree of ass showing, and clueless, pompous bite-the-hand Thompson demonstrated on that occasion was difficult to ignore.
Why would Thompson skedaddle less than a year prior to a Canadian World Championship that he has assiduously, if ineptly, promoted? Do potential sponsors mention Thompson when they decline to pursue discussions about becoming SC's title sponsor? Generally organizations that depend upon sponsors and upon community support spend a lot of time ass kissing versus alienating. Thompson had that ratio backwards.
Off he goes to the private sector. A key figure unanswerable (ahead of schedule) for some of the decisions Skate Canada has made with its star athletes. Who's next?
*It's Friday, Friday ...
Ever cutting edge, Skate Canada releases this on the traditional news dump day, Friday. In olden dayes, there was such a thing as a news cycle, and a late Friday news item would get buried through the weekend. By Monday, there would be a different item leading the news. Today there's no such thing as a news cycle.