Cycling NZ CEO Jacques Landry quits after three years in job – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: November 21, 2021 at 9:34 pm

Cycling New Zealand chief executive Jacques Landry has resigned after three years in the job.

His resignation comes amid an inquiry into the sport and three months after the suspected suicide of Olympic cyclist Olivia Podmore, who posted on social media about the pressures of high performance sport before her death.

Cycling NZ board chair Phil Holden said Landry has made a major contribution to cycling.

Landry first arrived at the organisation in 2019, after 10 years as the high performance director at Cycling Canada. He will leave for his native Canada at the end of the year.

Christel Yardley/Stuff

Cycling NZ chief executive Jacques Landry has resigned.

His arrival followed the 2018 Heron review that found a lack of accountability and sub-optimal leadership, instances of bullying and a dysfunctional culture in cycling. Within the 83-page 2018 review, Heron made 11 recommendations, including several pertaining to athlete welfare.

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Landry was brought in to implement its recommendations and to oversee the establishment of the Athletes voice committee, and new code of conduct. The implementation of the Heron review is the basis of the independent inquiry currently being undertaken by a panel appointed by Cycling New Zealand and High Performance Sport New Zealand.

The panel includes Heron, leading women in sport academic Sarah Leberman, former Silver Fern Lesley Nicol and Rio Olympic Games rowing silver medallist Genevieve Macky.

The inquiry is set to miss its first major deadline, with panellists unable to meet athletes face to face because of Covid restrictions in Waikato, where the NZ Cycling centralised programme is based. A draft of the findings from the inquiry is now due in February 2022.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Olympic cyclist Olivia Podmore died in August

Following the death of Podmore in August, Landry said Cycling NZ would be questioning this for a long time.

There will be a time for us to review and look at if and where we had missteps, or if we didnt act properly, he said.

Landry also facilitated the Cycling NZ Athlete Voice committee, which includes past and present riders. In a meeting in August, before the death of Podmore, concerns were raised about a lack of transparent communication around selection criteria, and the wording of athlete agreements.

The August meeting also addressed the lack of gender equity in selection panels and possible media training to strengthening the image of cycling within NZ.

Phil Holden said Landry had role-modelled the values we aspire to.

He is highly regarded within Cycling New Zealand and the wider cycling community, and has deepened the relationship with our four member organisations, sponsors and funding partners, Holden said.

Under his watch Cycling New Zealand has also completed its 2021-28 High Performance Strategic Plan, put in place an overarching strategic plan and initiated other major changes including the integration of Para cycling into the organisation.

Holden said that Landry indicated his departure in June, but has stayed on until now to help set up the independent inquiry.

CHRISTEL YARDLEY/STUFF/Waikato Times

Jacques Landry, (right) with High Performance Sport NZ chief executive Raelene Castle at a press conference following the death of Olivia Podmore.

He has been unable to leave the country and visit his family overseas for over two years because of ongoing delays in assessing his residency application, and there is no certainty at all over when the situation might be resolved. For his own personal wellbeing and that of his family, Mr Landry has made the difficult decision to leave, and we fully support him in that.

Landry will continue to make himself available to the inquiry panel after his departure from the organisation, Holden said. He also said that the board had worked closely with Mr Landry on the transition period.

A search is now underway to find a replacement, and the organisations chief operating officer will manage the day-to-day operations in the meantime.

Sport New Zealand chief executive Raelene Castle said it was disappointing to learn of Landrys resignation, but understands the reasons behind it.

The difficulties and challenges of being separated from family and friends for such a long period of time, due to the pandemic, cannot be underestimated, she said.

Sport NZ would like to thank Jacques for his contribution and his commitment to the sport of cycling over the last three years, and we wish him all the best for his return home and for the future.

In October, Cycling NZ appointed Dr Monica Robbers to the newly created position of chief operating officer, to allow Landry to concentrate on all the work related to the inquiry, as well as the parallel coronial inquiry, a statement on the Cycling NZ website said.

Stuff understands Cycling NZ and High Performance Sport NZ have also engaged Wellington crisis management communications company BRG following Podmores death.

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Cycling NZ CEO Jacques Landry quits after three years in job - Stuff.co.nz

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