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Australian Olympic Committee vows to implement transparency reforms

SYDNEY -- The Australian Olympic Committee announced its chef de mission for Tokyo 2020 on the same day it vowed to implement recommendations of an independent review that highlighted a dysfunctional culture within in its administration.

The appointment of Ian Chesterman, who has served as team leader at five Winter Olympics, on Thursday followed the release of a 64-page document that highlighted concerns about transparency, favoritism, communications and hostility mainly at the executive level of the AOC.

Problems, including allegations of bullying, were exposed during a bitter campaign ahead of an election for AOC presidency on May 6. AOC communications director Mike Tancred admitted in a letter of apology published in June that he'd threatened to damage the reputation of the organization's former chief executive Fiona de Jong.

An independent panel comprising three senior judges investigated the allegations and found on May 31 that Tancred had exhibited "disreputable conduct'' in his dealings with de Jong, but ruled that he was not guilty of bullying. The independent panel recommended Tancred be "severely reprimanded for his conduct,'' and that it form part of his employment record.

Tancred stood aside from his position pending separate investigations. International Olympic Committee Vice President John Coates easily won the AOC vote to secure what will be his last term as president of the movement's national governing body.

He is also head of the IOC's coordination commission for the 2020 Games in Tokyo. Coates said he welcomed the review of the AOC, which contained feedback from staff and external stakeholders including national sports federations, by Sydney-based The Ethics Centre.

"I have not put anything under the carpet,'' Coates said. "I'm not disappointed in having this report now because I think it's time for us to reassess whether we are fit for purpose.''

Recently appointed AOC chief executive Matt Carroll said the organization would implement 17 recommendations of the review designed to address the workplace culture.