The New Zealand Olympic Committee has announced Nicki Nicol as CEO and Secretary General, replacing incumbent Kereyn Smith who has held the role for 11 years.
Nicol, who joins NZOC from New Zealand Rugby, has held significant leadership roles in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. She is a life-long sports advocate who believes in the power of sport to inspire and positively enhance society.
Nicol brings with her strong leadership skills, commercial acumen and strategic vision and will join the organisation as it looks to Olympic and Commonwealth Games in Europe and the USA, before returning to the Southern Hemisphere for Brisbane 2032. She has specialised in organisational transformation and led NZ Rugby through a significant shift in culture around inclusion and diversity and its response to Covid-19.
Nicol was most recently Chief Transformation Officer and Chief Financial Officer at New Zealand Rugby.
President of the NZ Olympic Committee Mike Stanley said he was delighted to appoint Nicol to the role.
“It is my great pleasure to welcome and congratulate Nicki on being appointed CEO and Secretary General of the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games Committee.
“Nicki has had an outstanding career in New Zealand and overseas in multiple roles, most recently with New Zealand Rugby where she has been a highly respected member of the senior executive team.
“Nicki impressed with her diverse and highly successful commercial background, her proven leadership qualities and her strategic insights. She has a deep passion for sport and respect for the Olympic movement and Commonwealth Games, and what they mean to New Zealanders and to our athletes.
Nicki Nicol says she is very excited about the opportunity this role presents and is honoured to lead an organisation that has such a strong reputation domestically and internationally.
“This unique and special role will draw on a blend of my professional and personal life experiences. The New Zealand Team, Te Kapa o Aotearoa, has a fabulous reputation for its performances and successes and how it represents New Zealand. I look forward to working with the NZOC team, our partners and stakeholders to support New Zealand’s athletes to reach their potential.”
Like many New Zealanders, Nicol says the Olympic and Commonwealth Games have made their indelible impression on her.
“I recall Barbara Kendall’s gold medal ceremony in Barcelona where I was a combi-van tourist on my OE, waving the kiwi flag with pride, along with a very special afternoon on the Gold Coast when the NZ men’s and women’s rugby sevens teams took home double gold, as being incredible moments for me personally,” she concluded.
Nicol will transition into the leadership of the NZOC in March 2022.
About Nicki Nicol
Nicol Nicol has had a professional career anchored in strategic, sales, marketing and financial leadership roles. She joins the NZOC from NZ Rugby and prior to that BP, where she held senior executive roles in NZ, Australia and the UK.
Nicol joined NZ Rugby in 2017 as the Chief Financial Officer, and that role soon grew to have a wider organisational focus, as Deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer. As part of this role, Nicol was also asked to lead the implementation of the Respect & Responsibility Review, following a detailed review of rugby’s culture. The review focused on strategies to create stronger and more inclusive environments across rugby and was very holistic in its approach. Nicol then led the financial response to the Covid-19 crisis in 2020, successfully mitigating significant losses while creating an all-of-game response plan. Following organisational change in 2020, she took on a new role as Chief Transformation Officer, to lead the co-ordination and rebuild of Rugby, post Covid-19, as rugby seeks to transform, to ensure it remains relevant to fans and members alike.
A career in BP, spanning nearly two decades, saw the opportunity to lead large teams across diverse Business Units. Nicki’s portfolios included Retail, Marketing, Merchandising, Sales and Distributor channels. Nicol was also part of BP’s Global Marketing Executive.
She is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has breadth in governance and is a member of the Institute of Directors.
Nicol is married, with two teenage daughters and has been involved in many sports, in many different roles across competition, administration and governance. Her personal favourite is as a parent, supporting her daughters and seeing how sport is helping them to develop life skills and have fun along the way.