CEO of Commonwealth Games Australia Craig Phillips graduated with a Master of Business of Administration from Southern Cross University in 2000

Updated August 9 2022 - 11:40pm, first published August 3 2022 - 2:07am

Southern Cross University alumnus Craig Phillips had more reason than most to be cheering the success of the Australian team that performed so well at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

As CEO of Commonwealth Games Australia, Mr Phillips was in Birmingham where Australian athletes performed incredibly to top the medal tally.

Commonwealth Games Australia CEO Craig Phillips AM. Picture: Commonwealth Games Australia

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Mr Phillips graduated with a Master of Business of Administration from Southern Cross University in 2000 and in 2010 he was named the University's Graduate College of Management Alumnus of the Year.

Birmingham is Mr Phillips' second Commonwealth Games as CEO, following the home event on the Gold Coast in 2018.

He was appointed to the role in 2015, the latest phase in a career that has reached the heights of achievement in national and international sports administration.

After eight years with the NSW Department of Sport and Recreation, Mr Phillips joined the Australian Olympic Committee in 1990, fulfilling senior positions including Technical Director and Director of Sport.

Appointed CEO in 2005, he spent the next nine years at the helm of Australia's Olympic movement, also serving as a member of the Executive Board and the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia Board.

He also led the AOC's relationship with its 40-member National Sports Federations, national Institutes of Sport and other sporting organisations.

From Barcelona in 1992 to Sochi in 2014, Mr Phillips' leadership of 12 Australian summer and winter Olympic Games teams saw him become the most capped Olympic Team official in Australian sporting history.

He also represented the AOC on the Oceania National Olympic Committees Executive and the Board of the Gold Coast 2018 (GC2018) Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC), in addition to the GC2018 Sport and Technical Committee and GC2018 Joint Marketing Committee.

In 2021, Mr Phillips was honoured as a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia "for significant service to high profile sporting organisations through executive roles".

Australia sent 433 athletes to Birmingham, comprising 231 females, 201 males and one non-binary athlete. This included 75 para-sport athletes.

Birmingham is Australia's 22nd appearance at the Commonwealth Games. Australia has competed at every Games since their inception in 1930, has hosted the event five times and will do so again in Victoria in 2026.

One of the other local connections to Australia's Commonwealth Games team was Petria Thomas.

Having swum for Australia at three Commonwealth Games and claimed nine Commonwealth Games gold medals in her career, Petria Thomas OAM, was Chef de Mission of the Australian Team.

Thomas was the first woman in Australian history to lead a Commonwealth Games team.

She was born in Lismore and grew up in Mullumbimby.

She provided leadership and vision and is a role model for all 435 team members.

Her role was to inspire, motivate and cultivate a productive and positive team culture and environment so athletes can thrive and succeed.

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"It's a great honour to be named Chef de Mission for Birmingham 2022," Thomas said before the Games.

"I'm excited to be the first female Chef de Mission at a Commonwealth Games for Australia.

"There are some amazing names on the list of past Chef de Missions and to join that list is very exciting."