Matt Smith is Leaving World Rowing at the End of 2021

Matt Smith. Photo: World Rowing

16 March 2021

By Göran R Buckhorn

The other day, it was announced that Matt Smith, executive director of the international rowing federation World Rowing (earlier called FISA), will step down from his position at the end of this year.

Smith rowed at university and after earning his MBA degree, he received an invitation from Thor Nilsen to work as a coach at the training centre in Piediluco, Italy. HTBS contributor Chris Dodd, rowing journalist, writer and historian, covered Nilsen’s and Smith’s cooperation in his 2020 biography of the Norwegian coach, Thor Nilsen: Rowing’s Global Coach – see the two-part review on HTBS here for part 1 and here for part II.

Matt Smith worked for USRowing in 1989-1992 and then took up the position of development director for FISA in 1992 at their Swiss headquarters, then in Oberhofen. He was appointed executive director of FISA in 1995.

World Rowing has formed a search committee to find a new executive director. The committee is made up of the organisation’s President Jean-Christophe Rolland, Vice President Tricia Smith and Treasurer Gerritjan Eggenkamp.

Anyone interested in this position can express interest in a confidential email to In return, a detailed explanation of the job will be sent back to the person.

It is the hope of the search committee that Smith’s successor can be named by July and start in the position by the end of 2021. The position requires permanent presence in the World Rowing office in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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