IAAF installs Olivier Gers as its new chief executive.

Frenchman appointed by athletics body after a sixth-month global search.

17 August 2016 George Dudley

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the global governing body for athletics, has appointed Olivier Gers as its new permanent chief executive.  

Gers, who is the current the global president of LiquidThread, begins in his new role on 1st October. 

The appointment of the experienced Frenchman ends a six-month search by the IAAF, which attracted more than 200 potential candidates from around the globe. He replaces compatriot Jean Gracia, who had been fulfilling the role on an interim basis as part of president Sebastian Coe’s restructuring of the organisation. The 46-year-old brings with him more than 20 years of commercial, marketing and media experience.

“The IAAF is on a mission to change,” said Coe. “We looked for a chief executive with the energy, passion and experience to lead the organisation and, together with the council and the congress, drive the sport to be the best that it can be. 

“Olivier’s experience in leading global teams, working with world-class brands and businesses and developing and creating digital products and platforms is exactly what we need.”

Gers said: “Sport is the purest expression of human possibility and all sport is anchored in the disciplines of athletics. The IAAF is at a challenging and exciting junction. It is a multi-million dollar business that needs to stay relevant, build its fan base and re-establish trust. 

“Sitting at the heart of the sport are the athletes and their remarkable achievements. Bringing the global athletes and their fans closer together through technology is the ultimate goal to driving the business of athletics forward and I believe my commercial, marketing and digital experience will help to achieve this.”

Prior to joining LiquidThread Gers spent 15 years in the US in leadership roles with FremantleMedia Licensing Worldwide and as global head of IMG Digital Media in New York before heading to the UK in 2010 as chief executive of Endemol Worldwide Brands.