(This story was published in 2002).
By: David Mills
Reprinted by permission from the Sydney Star Observer
The chief executive officer of Sydney 2002 Gay Games has resigned from his position just 93 days out from the event – and nobody is saying why.
Geoffrey Williams, who was appointed as CEO just slightly over a year ago, said he had “absolutely no comment” to make on his resignation, which was communicated to Sydney 2002 staff and some Games stakeholders on Monday of this week.
Similarly opaque responses came from Sydney 2002 co-chairs, Bev Lange and Peter Bailey.
“Geoffrey has not provided a reason with his resignation,” Lange said. “We’ve accepted it. Timing is not perfect for the organization, but that’s the way it is.”
“Geoffrey has resigned and the resignation is effective on 31 July,” Bailey offered. “We’re pleased with the status with where we’re up to. We wish him well and we’re delighted with the fact that he’s as firmly committed to transition as he is.”
The director of corporate services, Judith Fletcher, was named to replace him. She has been the Games' Director of Corporate Services and previously held the position of General Manager of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
Bailey conceded that it was “unfortunate that this happened with less than 100 days to go”, but claimed that the organization would remain in “very good shape”. He also rejected suggestions that Williams had not been performing in his role as CEO. “Quite the opposite,” Bailey said.
Sources in contact with Sydney 2002 Gay Games said that Williams had played a diminishing role in organizational affairs over the past few weeks, and that he had a problematic working relationship with Lange. However, Lange was quick to reject this assertion.
“Geoffrey and I have had what I think is a constructive relationship for the entirety of our working relationship,” she said. “We’ve worked together before and we’re friends.”
Bailey confirmed that Williams’s final payout included more than just his normal employee dues, but neither he nor Lange would reveal the amount he is to be paid.
“That’s between Geoffrey and 2002 and it’s inappropriate to talk about that publicly,” Lange said. She added that a budget review meeting to take place this weekend would make allowances for the unanticipated expenditure.
Williams’s departure did not send any particular message about the state of Sydney 2002, Lange and Bailey both contended.
“I don’t believe [this] will have any effect on the organization itself,” she said. “The planning is well under way, the team is working well and strongly. There are certainly some things we need to tidy up, which we are doing, but I think that the position of the organization is very strong.
“We’ve spoken with staff and they’re OK,” Lange said. “We’ve also spoken with our stakeholders and let them know; there’s been no panic or adverse comment from them.”
She also revealed that two new sponsors of Sydney 2002 would be announced within the next couple of weeks.