Netball Australia CEO To Depart At End Of 2020

Netball Australia Chief Executive, Ms Marne Fechner, has announced she will be resigning after more than 25 years of involvement with the sport.

Ms Fechner, who has overseen major improvements in participation, commercialisation and marketing of netball, said while it was an extremely difficult decision, the lure of a new challenge was too compelling.

‘’It’s been an honour to lead this sport over the past three and half years and I’m immensely proud of what the Netball Australia team has achieved across my time with the organisation,” she said.

“Our work in partnership with netball’s Member Organisations, Suncorp Super Netball clubs, our amazing athletes and passionate broadcasters and sponsors is at the core of what we do.”

“Netball’s heartbeat lives in the thousands of volunteers and participants in communities around the country and I’ve been privileged to meet and work alongside so many wonderful people through a shared passion for the sport.”

‘’The friendships and connections I’ve made through netball are part of who I am, and I want to thank everyone who has challenged, supported and inspired me during my time with netball and more recently as CEO.”

“In particular, I want to acknowledge the Board, executive and staff at Netball Australia – past and present – who have committed every day to ensuring netball in Australia thrives and that we keep striving for bigger and bolder outcomes for the sport, playing a bigger game as a beacon for girls and women’s participation in sport and in sport leadership, on and off the court,” Ms Fechner said.

Ms Fechner, who also served as Netball Australia’s Head of Commercial and Chief Executive of Netball World Cup Sydney 2015, was a key driver of many initiatives that have changed the face of Australia’s biggest sport for women and girls.

Highlights include:

  • The development and launch of the Diamonds brand.
  • Establishment of netball’s national commercial framework.
  • Benchmark achievements in fan engagement and creation of ongoing legacy benefits from the 2015 Netball World Cup.
  • The game-changing five-year broadcast deal with Nine and Telstra.
  • Australia’s most significant commercial partnership for female sport with Suncorp.
  • The launch and growth of the world’s best elite netball competition, Suncorp Super Netball, across the last four years.
  • Instigation of the independent 2020 State of the Game Review – the most significant review in the sport’s history and one which will underpin netball’s Strategy 2027.
  • An historic system-wide commitment to tackle under-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander athletes at netball’s elite levels, and more.

Chair of Netball Australia, Paolina Hunt, thanked Ms Fechner for her commitment and energy during a transformational time for Netball.

‘’This is the right decision for Marne but a sad one for netball,” Ms Hunt said.

‘’Marne has been an outstanding leader for our sport. Her commercial acumen, personal integrity and strong leadership capability, together with her creative out-of-the-box thinking, have delivered ground-breaking outcomes for netball. Marne has built a tremendous platform from which the sport of netball can now re-imagine its future.”

“We have been fortunate to have such a passionate, clever, caring and professional leader over what has been a period of significant change for netball. Marne’s commitment to excellence and living the values of our sport are well known. We will miss Marne, yet wish her well.”

Ron Steiner has been appointed interim CEO. Mr Steiner comes to the role having worked with the current Netball Australia executive team, and brings his executive experience from 40 years in sport and business, most recently as a member of the executive team at McMillan Shakespeare, and including key leadership roles with cricket and rugby.

Mr Steiner said he would not be a candidate for the permanent role but was honoured to be approached to lead the organisation through this important time.

Netball Australia will commence the search for a permanent CEO in 2021.