Robin Brudner has described Calgary’s potential bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games as a "huge priority" after replacing Chris Overholt as chief executive of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) on an interim basis.
Brudner, 55, who is from Tonroto, has also been appointed secretary general.
She was retained by the COC in April 2016 as senior advisor and corporate secretary to oversee a governance review and the implementation of significant governance enhancements and new conduct policies.
Additionally, she has served as a business and strategic advisor on numerous matters to management and the Board of Directors.
Overholt, who has served as chief executive since August 2011 after joining the COC in 2010 as chief operating officer and chief marketing officer, has accepted a leadership role with another organisation.
According to a report from SportBusiness Journal, that organisation is Toronto’s Overwatch League franchise.
The Overwatch League is a professional esports league for the video game Overwatch, developed and fully controlled by Blizzard Entertainment.
"Whether it’s supporting our sports federations and athletes to achieve even greater success, increasing revenue generation, engaging our organisation in issues that impact the lives of all Canadians, or advancing our shared Olympic values, Chris Overholt’s leadership has seen the COC’s impact and reach flourish," COC President Tricia Smith, an International Olympic Committee member, said.
"By any measure, Chris has done outstanding work in service to the COC, and we are grateful for the legacy of success he leaves us.
"We are happy and proud for Chris, not only of his Olympic achievements of the last eight years, but for the new challenges that await him."
Brudner’s leadership experience in sports and entertainment includes 17 years with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., where she served as executive vice-president, general counsel and corporate secretary.
"I thank the Board for its decision to appoint me to serve as interim chief executive and secretary general," she said.
"I have had the opportunity to work closely with Tricia Smith, Chris Overholt, and the Board of Directors on many critical issues; something that has enabled me to understand our organisation’s many strengths.
"I thank Tricia and Chris for their leadership, innovation, and collaboration to date.
"I now look forward to working with Tricia, the Board, the COC staff, the sport community and our partners to continue to build upon the foundation that has been so successfully created."
In June, the COC unanimously approved Calgary as a potential host of the 2026 Winter Olympics, in the event that the city decides to go ahead with a bid.
Brudner told The Canadian Press that the bid is a "huge priority".
"That will be part of the transition discussions I have with Chris," she added.
Overholt, who will remain with the COC for several more weeks, has led the organisation for Canada’s best-ever Summer and Winter Olympics.
Canada achieved its best medal total at a Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang 2018 with 29 medals, including 11 golds.
The country's 22 medals, including four golds, at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics equalled its best performance at a non-boycotted Games.
Overholt oversaw a number of athlete-focused initiatives, including Game Plan and the partnership with the Smith School of Business, both offering support for athletes in envisioning and achieving their dreams post competition.
He also elevated the financial support and profile of the Olympic brand in Canada to record levels, led the COC in its work in promoting diversity and inclusivity, and supported Canada’s leadership role in international discussions aimed at putting an end to doping and corruption in sport.
"It has been an honour to serve with all the talented, hard-working, and distinguished people at the COC," he said.
"I am also happy to have had the chance to collaborate with our dedicated partners and sport federations that give our athletes the support to succeed at the highest level of international competition.
"I will forever be grateful to have had the opportunity to do such important and impactful work, and I will continue to be inspired by our athletes, by the COC, and by the spirit of the Olympic Movement no matter what I do in the future, or wherever life takes me."
The hiring of Brudner as corporate secretary was one of several moves the COC made following an independent review of the organisation after Marcel Aubut’s departure as President in October 2015.
Aubut resigned amid the emergence of several sexual harassment allegations, but did not face criminal charges and apologised in a written statement.
Former rower Smith was the COC vice-president who replaced Aubut.
Brudner has yet to decide if she’ll put her name forward as a candidate for the permanent chief executive position.
"I have had the great pleasure of knowing Robin Brudner for more than 20 years, working alongside her both at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and with the Canadian Olympic Committee," Overholt added.
"She has been one of the most highly-respected and trusted executives in the Canadian sports industry for many years, playing key roles typically behind the scenes on virtually every matter that a sports organisation can encounter.
"She has the unique perspective of knowing the inner workings of the office of the chief executive, and of our Board of Directors, and that knowledge will serve her well."