Seeking Leadership at the OCI

UPDATE: We have now included details of the full job description being used to encourage candidates for the position of CEO of the Olympic Council of Ireland:

The Olympic Council of Ireland has begun the process of recruiting a new Chief Executive who will lead the organisation towards Tokyo 2020, Paris 2024 and a host of other Olympic events along the way.

The position became available when Stephen Martin announced his departure from the role last month after eleven years in the role.

This will be the latest change in management of the organisation after the tumultuous events of 2016 and 2017.

They led to the departure of long time President Pat Hickey and the election in February of Sarah Keane as President, Sarah O’Shea as Honorary General Secretary
and a whole new Executive Committee.

It is to this group that the new CEO will be accountable. They will report directly to the President and the intention is to take on a very substantial role in plotting the oCI’s return to favour among athletes, sporting organisations, government and other stakeholders including commercial partners.

The invitation is now gone out for applications from suitably qualified candidates who will have responsibility for the strategic leadership, operational management, commercial direction and overall growth of the OCI.

The CEO will lead the organisation to ensure the implementation of the new 2018-2024 Strategic Plan, to be launched in Dublin on Tuesday December 5th and which will be covered in detail on Sport for Business on Wednesday.

They will be given the responsibility to deliver upon the sustainability of the OCI, its reputation and achievement of success.

The role will require a balance of business, commercial and sporting knowledge.

According to the advertisement for the position, candidates must possess personal qualities of the highest calibre. They will need to be able to demonstrate a record of achievement within an organisation, complemented by impressive managerial credentials and accomplishments in team leadership, an understanding of the Irish sporting and performance landscape and a passion for success by Irish Olympic athletes.

Proven leadership skills and an ability to influence and manage change is seen as vital for the role.

An excellent standard of education, preferably with a third level qualification, is required as is a clear understanding of governance and policy. It will be necessary to drive the continuing development of the OCI using enthusiasm, confidence and perseverance.

The process of application is tight with potential candidates asked to submit a formal letter of application along with a CV, outline of current notice period and remuneration and two referees by Friday December 15th at 5pm.

If it proves possible to turn around an appointment at this level in short time over the Christmas and New Year period then the first outing for the new CEO is likely to be at Pyeongchang in Korea where Ireland will be represented by a possible record number of competitors in the Winter Games.

If that’s possible it would also be an opportunity to pick up some advice from Stephen Martin who will end his association with the OCI as Chef de Mission for the Games.


  • Implement, drive and deliver the 2018-2024 Strategic Plan in collaboration with the Executive Committee to ensure success in line with agreed outcomes.
  • Be responsible for providing the Management team and staff with leadership, direction and development.
  • As head of the Management team, take responsibility for management of day to day operations to:
    • Ensure the implementation of agreed strategies and the development and support of National governing bodies and athletes and support teams.
    • Prepare annual business plans and budgets for approval by the Executive Committee and deliver on the approved plans.
    • Manage all games and travel logistics on behalf of all Team Ireland teams.
    • Develop, manage and maintain the infrastructure and assets of the OCI.
    • Optimise both the short term and long-term performance and viability of the OCI through commercial revenue growth and prudent day to day management.
    • Ensure good governance and financial responsibility through the use of appropriate and efficient systems, procedures and controls and compliance with ethical governance, financial, legal and statutory regulation, best practice and obligations.
    • Report on progress to the Executive Committee and identify and report on areas of concern as required.
    • Ensure the accuracy of the recording and implementation of decisions.
  • Responsible for all Communications on behalf of the OCI across all media platforms and, along with the President, lead all Public Relations activity.
  • Be a good ambassador for the OCI at all times both nationally and internationally.
  • Build effective relationships and work with stakeholders including Government, Sport Ireland, Institute for Sport, National Governing Bodies, the IOC, the EOC, ANOC and all Commercial Partners.
  • Prepare papers, policy documents and other OCI material.
  • Provide leadership to the whole organisation in relation to the Health and Safety, legislative requirements and have systems in place to ensure adherence to all legal requirements, policies and procedures.
  • Keep abreast of developments and initiatives in sport and advise the Executive Committee of same.
  • Be available to work at the OCI office in Howth, Co. Dublin.
  • Attendance at out of Dublin activities and evening events along with regular overseas travel will be required.
  • Serving on other committees where the OCI has been asked to have representation.
  • Any other projects, tasks or responsibilities as and when required that may be required for effective and quality operation of the OCI and may be assigned by the President and/or the Executive Committee from time to time.
  • This job description is not to be regarded as exclusive or exhaustive. 



Candidates must possess personal qualities of the highest calibre. Necessary credibility, ability and experience, both externally and with the management team, dictate that candidates have a record of achievement within an organisation, complemented by impressive managerial credentials and accomplishments in team leadership and the ability to quickly develop a clear understanding of the Irish sporting and performance landscape.

This role calls for someone with proven managerial and communication skills, able to win trust and respect.  We are seeking an accomplished and energetic executive with the professional competencies and personal empathy to make a substantial contribution to the work and further development of the OCI.  Proven leadership skills and an inherent ability to influence and to manage change is vital as is an excellent standard of education, preferably with a third level qualification directly relevant to this role. The CEO must drive the continuing development of the OCI using enthusiasm, confidence and perseverance.


 An experienced senior manager – strategically focused as well as operationally and administratively effective.

  • Knowledgeable of Irish sport, with a passion for Irish Olympic sport and the ability to quickly understanding of the Olympic Movement and the OCI Vision, Mission and Values.
  • Strongly orientated towards project management and service delivery, with a track record of meeting or exceeding goals and experience of creating and driving revenue while managing budgets and finances.
  • Familiarity with governance issues and policy matters.
  • Experience of financial management and risk.
  • Outstanding interpersonal and leadership skills, capable of influencing and motivating others.
  • Experience of building and sustaining relationships with a wide variety of stakeholders to further organisational interests within a complex stakeholder environment.
  • An articulate, informed communicator – with the ability and credibility to serve as a public face of the OCI.
  • Sound knowledge and understanding of sporting structures and working within them for success.
  • Experience of working positively with boards and operating at a strategic level (with the ability to ‘think strategically’).
  • Demonstrable track record of implementing organisational change and continuous improvement to evolve capability and capacity.


  • A solid understanding of the role of a representative organisation, with significant relevant experience
  • Ability to develop strategic relationships with government, international bodies, national agencies and business.
  • Able to develop and maintain close relationships.
  • Ability to prepare business plans and budgets and deliver same
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills with an inclusive leadership style.
  • Ability in the areas of public relations, communications and journalism, public speaking, presentation and representation with the ability to positively influence and manage media relations.
  • Understanding of business support systems & public funding processes.
  • Experience of Human Resource practices and issues.

Those looking to apply for the role or seek more information are invited to do so via

In 2018 Sport for Business will host 20 events linking sport and business in ways that make a difference to how we all do such a great job, as well as producing our Daily News Digest covering the commercial world of Irish sport.

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