Netball Australia (NA) chief executive Kelly Ryan has resigned days after the governing body ended its bitter pay dispute with the sport’s players’ union.

Ryan, who was appointed to the role in 2021, announced her shock resignation today – effective immediately – after the governing body reached an in-principal deal for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) last week.

In a statement, Ryan said: “During my time as CEO I have delivered on the objectives of the board.

“We overcame the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic to continue a national competition through border closures, experienced strong growth in the national competition, grew netball's already strong participation numbers, and strengthened the game's finances.”

Responding to the move, NA chair Wendy Archer said she had not anticipated Ryan’s resignation and was not aware of any plans from other board members or executives to resign.

Stacy West, NA’s executive general manager of performance, will fill Ryan’s role on an interim basis. West has spent 12 years at NA, working as a player, coach, and selector within high-performance programs in Australia and internationally.

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In a statement, Archer said: “Kelly Ryan has made an enormous contribution to our sport in her time leading Netball Australia.

“She has shown great resilience and integrity during her leadership over her time as CEO.”

Ryan’s time leading NA has, however, been dogged by controversy and multiple financial pressures.

Earlier this year, the governing body announced it was AU$4 million in debt, having been unable to fully recover from the pandemic and losing its main sponsorship deal, mining company Hancock Prospecting, in October worth AU$15 million.

NA was also criticized by players for its decision to sell the Super Netball grand final to Perth without player consultation and Collingwood’s decision to withdraw its Magpie team from Super Netball at the end of the 2023 season over poor commercial results.

Earlier this month, the governing body also saw almost AU$18 million in federal government funding cut from the sport over concerns it will not be appropriately spent.

Ryan's tenure has also been affected by a bitter pay dispute between Australia and its Super Netball players, which culminated in several players shunning the governing body’s awards night last month despite receiving legal letters reminding them of their requirement to attend.

The previous CBA between the Australian Netball Players’ Association and NA ended in September and the dispute has prevented players from being paid for over 10 weeks. Super Netball franchises have not been able to contract players and no team has announced their squads for the 2024 season, which starts in April.

The Australian Netball Players’ Association and NA are currently finalizing a new CBA for Super Netball players, including an 11% pay rise and a greater share of competition revenue – an announcement expected in the coming days.