Gymnastics Canada splits from CEO Moss amid calls for his resignation

(Reuters) – Gymnastics Canada will replace Chief Executive Officer Ian Moss as part of significant leadership changes after it came under fire for its handling of allegations of misconduct, the national governing body said on Thursday.

The organization said it will work with Moss, who was appointed CEO of Gymnastics Canada in October 2018, to ensure a smooth transition process to his successor.

“We have heard loud and clear about the cultural and behavioral wrongdoings that have harmed individuals and our sport,” Bernard Petiot, interim chairman of Gymnastics Canada, said in a press release. “We recognize and respect the impact of this wrongdoing and are moving forward – today.”

Other changes include the recruitment of a new CEO following Jeff Thomson’s resignation this month, the addition of new board members, a Safe Sports Director to drive a national culture of safe sports, and a review process for hiring High Performance National Leaders.

The decision comes after a number of gymnasts called for Moss and Thomson to step down, saying the way they have dealt with complaints has left them with a lack of confidence in their leadership.

In March 2022, a group of more than 70 current and former Canadian gymnasts called for an independent investigation into what they described as “toxic culture and abusive practices” in their sport in the country.

According to the gymnasts, there were multiple complaints and arrests for various forms of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, and the subject of the complaints were Canadian coaches, to which many of the athletes were exposed when they were minors.

A day later, Gymnastics Canada said it was sad to learn that the athletes felt the national governing body had not addressed concerns of abuse, but supported the request for an inquiry to monitor the complaints.

Richard McLaren, who led investigations into Russian doping and corruption at the International Weightlifting Federation, was hired to oversee the conduct of a cultural review by Gymnastics Canada.

McLaren’s 277-page review report, released in January, offered feedback, details on a fractured culture and a path to more accountable gymnastics across Canada.

“We have a lot to do. New leadership positions and renewed governance are important steps to move forward,” said Petiot.

“The McLaren report has given us a framework for change and an increased commitment to accountability, transparency and excellence in safe sport.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)


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