In the same week that Thomas Grandi announced his plans to return to the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, Alpine Canada CEO Ken Read announced his plans to leave it.
“After more than six years leading this organization I knew the day would come where I had to choose between working at Alpine Canada and my family,” said Read, who was one of Canada’s top ski racers and a member of the legendary Crazy Canucks crew. “That day has now come to move on from Alpine Canada, although I intend to remain actively involved as a parent volunteer, within the various positions I hold with the International Ski Federation (FIS) and of course as a national team alumnus.”
Read’s son is on the cusp of making Canada’s national ski team and it is against ACA policy for parent to be in an executive position while a child is on the team.
Read’s accomplishments for the team range from finding new sponsors and funding, to recruiting a core of athletes and coaches that posted Canada’s best ever World Cup season in 2006-2007 with 14 medals. Canada was ranked 12 th on the Nations Cup list in 2005, and was sixth in 2008, while the Para-Alpine team moved up from ninth to second. He also brought new World Cup events to Canada, consolidated sponsorships for the Pontiac GMC national series and Canadian Championships, and built on youth programs across the country.
“I am particularly proud of our fiscal performance,” said Read, who plans to return to the private sector work as a sport management consultant he left in 2002 to take over the national alpine program. The entire organization was overhauled followed a disappointing performance at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
“Alpine Canada was in dire financial trouble in 2002 but thanks to the hard work of our entire staff, our board, the commitment of our sponsors, and the success of programs like the Podium Club, ACA has posted five successive years of positive financial results.
“There is still more work to be done, but I am proud of what we have accomplished and I know our athletes now have the resources to be successful. It is crucial they remain focused and our system remains dedicated to being best in the world… at every level.”
One of Read’s familiar goals as CEO was to provide athletes with the “human, technical and financial resources” to be successful, a broad term that includes everything from hiring the best physical and mental trainers, to equipping athletes with the best gear and training tools, to ensuring athletes have the financial resources to dedicate themselves to the sport year-round with additional on-snow and dryland training opportunities.
One of Read’s first actions as CEO was to create a long-term Podium 2010 strategy for the program through the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The strategy includes milestones for both Alpine Canada and the athletes, and to date Read has met most of those milestones.
Alpine Canada has not named Read’s successor.