March 30, 2005

Swimming Canada's New CEO

Another shoe has dropped at Swimming Canada, and maybe some stability is finally in store. Last November I wrote about the ongoing turmoil in the organization. The top staff position has been vacant for more than a year.

Last week Swimming Canada hired Pierre Lafontaine for the job. I'm guessing from the length of the job search that Lafontaine wasn't Swimming Canada's first choice, but he has good credentials, and he's young (only 48).

Lafontaine has been working as a high-level coach in Australia, and was successful there. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to his new role, which won't include much coaching. Can he handle the political and management pressures, and the lack of direct control over performance? Can he make the funding pitch to government that is so critical to success in Canada? Only time will tell. In his favour, he does appear to understand that there aren't going to be any quick fixes (a sentiment echoed by fired head coach Dave Johnson). On the other hand, he still has a lot of optimism, and that won't hurt either.

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