New CEO to lead Melbourne & Olympic Parks

Top sports business and major events leader John Harnden has been named as new chief executive of the Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust (MOPT).

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula today announced Mr Harnden would replace long-standing CEO Brian Morris, who will step down after 14 years in the role.

M&OPT Chairman Russell Caplan welcomed Mr Hardern and said he was an outstanding candidate who brought an unique mix of national and international event experience to the precinct.

“From his leadership of major national and international sporting and cultural events, John brings an invaluable perspective to the Trust along with a vision for how we can continue to attract new events and more local, national and international visitors,” said Mr Caplan.

Mr Harnden was chief executive of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Corporation and cricket’s 2015 World Cup hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Harnden is currently chair of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and will remain in that position until a replacement is appointed.

“I am thrilled to be joining the team at the Trust and look forward to working with everyone in the precinct to continue the success of this world-famous sporting, cultural and entertainment icon,” said Mr Harnden.

The Australian Open is locked in at Melbourne Park until at least 2036 and Mr Morris has overseen a $972 million upgrade at the precinct to ensure it remains a world-leading sport and entertainment destination.

Highlights include the addition of Margaret Court Arena and the National Tennis Centre, as well as a major refurbishment of Rod Laver Arena. The precinct hosts a wide range of major events, none bigger than the Australian Open which attracted nearly 800,000 spectators over two weeks in January.

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula said:

“Brian Morris has done an outstanding job at the helm of a key Melbourne organisation and I wish him all the best for the future.”

“John Harnden has a record of achievement and a passion for sport that make him the right person to fill Brian’s shoes.”

Mr Harnden will oversee the Andrews Labor Government’s $271 million third stage of the Melbourne Park redevelopment, which is under way. Works include construction of a new function and media centre, a multi-purpose sunken show court and a central logistics hub.