Gymnastics Canada parts ways with CEO Moss amid calls for resignation

(Reuters) - Gymnastics Canada will replace Chief Executive Officer Ian Moss as part of substantive changes in leadership after coming under fire over its handling of misconduct allegations, the national governing body said on Thursday.

The organization said it will work with Moss, who was named CEO of Gymnastics Canada in October 2018, to ensure a smooth transition process towards his successor.

"We have heard loud and clear the cultural and behavioural wrongdoings that have hurt individuals and our sport," Bernard Petiot, interim chair of Gymnastics Canada, said in a news release. "We acknowledge and respect the ripple effect of these wrongdoings and we are moving ahead - today."

Other changes include recruiting a new board chair after Jeff Thomson resigned this month, the addition of new board members, a Safe Sport Director to drive a national culture of Safe Sport and a vetting process for the hiring of High Performance National Leaders.

The decision comes after a number of gymnasts called for Moss and Thomson's resignations and said that the way they handled complaints left them with no faith in their leadership.

In March 2022, a group of more than 70 current and former Canadian gymnasts called for an independent investigation into what they described as a "toxic culture and abusive practices" within their sport in the country.

According to the gymnasts, there were multiple complaints and arrests for various forms of emotional, physical and sexual abuse and the subject of the complaints have been Canadian coaches, many of whom the athletes were exposed to as minors.

A day later, Gymnastics Canada said it was saddened to learn that athletes feel the national governing body failed to address concerns of abuse but supported the request for an investigation to oversee the complaints.

Richard McLaren, who led investigations into Russian doping and corruption in the International Weightlifting Federation, was hired to oversee the implementation of a culture review of Gymnastics Canada.

McLaren's 277-page report review released in January offered feedback, details on a broken culture and a path towards increased accountability in gymnastics across Canada.

"We have much work to do. New leadership positions and renewed governance are important steps in moving forward," said Petiot.

"The McLaren Report has given us a framework for change and an increased commitment to accountability, transparency, and excellence in Safe Sport."

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)