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Basketball ACT chief executive Tony Jackson quits amid board and staff tension

Tony Jackson is leaving Basketball ACT.

Tony Jackson is leaving Basketball ACT. Photo: Graham Tidy

Increasing tension between the Basketball ACT board and staff led to chief executive Tony Jackson's decision to quit just two years into his tenure.

Basketball ACT is set announce record participation numbers and the biggest surplus in its history at its coming AGM, but the failure to re-sign superstar Lauren Jackson to the Canberra Capitals and division of opinion over the sport's strategic direction contributed to Tony Jackson's departure.

Jackson's exit continues a big change of leadership for Basketball ACT, which is still operating under an interim president after Mark White quit his post in August last year.

Jackson resigned on Thursday but will stay on as boss of Basketball ACT for three more months.

He aims to finalise a deal for the University of Canberra to take over the running of the Capitals' WNBL program.

The deal would involve the Capitals splitting from Basketball ACT for the first time and being based at the university's Bruce campus.

It is understood the relationship between Jackson and some sections of the board has been strained for some time, with a division on how the sport should move forward in Canberra.

Jackson's departure has been discussed for the past two months as board-level tension continued.

The failed attempt to recruit Lauren Jackson for the WNBL season also put pressure on Tony Jackson to retain his role.

Lauren Jackson wanted to sign with the Capitals for the 2013-14 season, but the Capitals - with Tony Jackson in charge of negotiations - failed to meet a deadline imposed by the superstar's management.

But Tony Jackson - who started as Basketball ACT boss in 2011 - said his decision to quit nine months before his contract expires was motivated by a desire to find a new challenge.

Basketball ACT will appoint a new president and two new board members at its annual general meeting next month.

Basketball ACT will unveil promising figures for the sport at the AGM, including:

■ An increase in basketball participation, with the highest numbers in Basketball ACT's history.

■ The Capitals breaking even financially for just the second time in their history.

■ A record surplus for the past year.

Basketball ACT vice-president Melissa Backhouse said: ''Tony resigned and it was his own decision … We've got some new priorities and looking for the right person to drive that forward. We're looking to the future … it was amicable.''

Jackson's last day is scheduled to be April 18, but there is room for Jackson and Basketball ACT to negotiate a different date if a new chief executive is found or if Jackson finds a new job.

''I came to the conclusion that my tenure was up,'' Jackson said.

''We've made some huge improvement and steps forward, but I'm not sure there's much more I can do. I'm proud of what I've achieved and I'd like to see a few things through before I go.

''I've enjoyed my 2½ years here. There have some structural changes which have increased participation and the core business. I feel it's my time to look for the next challenge.''

During his tenure, Tony Jackson lured the Australian Boomers and Opals to Canberra for the capital's first international double-header at the AIS Arena last year.

He also helped get the famed basketball showmen the Harlem Globetrotters to play an exhibition game in Canberra.

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