‘I Tried, But I Just Couldn’t Change The Olympic Committee’s Workplace Bullying Culture’

Mike Tancred, the long-serving Australian Olympic Committee
director of media and communications, has temporarily stood
down from his $320,000-a-year position, pending the outcome of
an investigation into alleged workplace bullying.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the AOC announced:

“The AOC has this afternoon received notice from Mike Tancred
that he is “standing down from (his) position of AOC Director
of Media and Communications pending the outcome of any
investigation of the complaint made against (him) by Fiona de

Over the weekend, Fairfax Media revealed that Tancred had been
the target of a number of complaints
, both formal and
informal, from staff over a period of several years. In some of
those cases, the staff ended up resigning.

The most high-profile AOC staffer to complain about Tancred was
former chief executive Fiona de Jong. She resigned in October
after the Rio Olympics, and has since described Tancred’s
aggressive response to her formal complaint as “blackmail and

Fiona de Jong’s full complaint can be read here, and it’s
eye-opening stuff. It details how her complaint about Tancred
was submitted to AOC President John Coates on December 16, but
has not yet been acted upon.

She writes of a “culture of bullying” at the AOC, and said that
in her 12 years at the body, she was aware of at least 12
complaints related to bullying.

“During my time as CEO I fought hard to change the culture at
the AOC, but was evidently unable to do so,” she wrote.

This is a time of great turmoil for the Australian Olympic
Committee. The organisation has its presidential election on
May 6, and the 27-year tenure of long-serving AOC president
John Coates is under serious threat for the first time.

Challenging Coates is hockey gold medallist from the 1996
Olympics and businesswoman Danni Roche. She has promised to
take a fraction of the $700,000 salary earned by Coates.

Tancred is seen as a loyal Coates foot soldier, and most
Olympic watchers believe he would be out of the picture anyway
should the Roche challenge be successful.


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‘I Tried, But I Just Couldn’t Change The Olympic Committee’s Workplace Bullying Culture’

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