Melbourne Storm’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), Danielle Smith, has been appointed to the newly created role of Group COO and Netball CEO.

Smith becomes the inaugural CEO of Sunshine Coast Lightning, a joint venture between Melbourne Storm and the University of the Sunshine Coast, the region’s first national elite sports team in the new Australian-only eight-team national netball competition which commences in 2017.

Highly regarded and experienced in the sporting industry, Smith has over 20 years’ experience, including 14 years in sport and major events. 

Smith will maintain her current role as Storm COO and as a Director on the Club’s board.

Her initial priorities as Netball CEO will be working closely with Lightning head coach Noeline Taurua on finalising the playing list after Netball Australia announced its Collective Player Agreement earlier this week, appointing other key staff, securing major commercial partners and overseeing the establishment of the team’s high performance base at the University of the Sunshine Coast. 

Smith’s attention will also be focussed on engaging the team with the Sunshine Coast community and ensuring readiness for the season’s commencement in mid-February 2017.

Storm CEO Dave Donaghy said; “Danielle’s appointment is recognition for the role she has played as COO where she has led the team that has delivered the Club’s new commercial ventures and growth.

“She has overseen the formation of the Lightning and has worked closely with Netball Australia in the acquisition of our joint venture licence.

“I am sure that she will bring energy and innovation to her new position and her values, experience and vision for the Lightning will see her be successful in the role.”

Smith’s role will commence at the conclusion of Storm’s season. She will spend time between Melbourne and the Sunshine Coast before relocating with her family at the end of the year.