WADA announces inaugural Ethics Officer
Further to our communication of 22 August 2022, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Gautier Aubert as the Agency’s first Ethics Officer, which alongside the Independent Ethics Board (IEB), is responsible for implementing WADA’s Code of Ethics. As an independent contractor, Mr. Aubert will perform his services for an initial term of three years, with scope for a further two three-year terms at the discretion of the IEB. Working independently of WADA, the Ethics Officer is in charge of managing cases as and when they arise under the Code of Ethics and reports directly to the IEB Chair.
Commenting on his appointment, Mr. Aubert said: “I am honored to be appointed as the inaugural Ethics Officer and am looking forward to working closely with the IEB to ensure WADA’s officials are operating in alignment with the ethical standards laid out in the Code of Ethics. My knowledge of sports law and expertise in ethics, including my experience of having led the ethics department of a large international sports federation, make me well suited for the position. Above all, I will bring my passion for sport and commitment to fair play with me to the role.”
Prof. Mette Hartlev, IEB Chair, said: “With years of experience in both law and sport, Mr. Aubert is perfectly suited for the position of Ethics Officer. As the first point of contact for any ethical issues or complaints that may arise, Mr. Aubert will play an integral part in the implementation of the Code of Ethics. He was selected following a thorough recruitment process, conducted in collaboration with WADA’s Nominations Committee, and I am confident that he will fulfill his duties effectively.”
Since 2016, WADA has undergone a series of governance reforms. As part of these reforms, in November 2021, the Code of Ethics was adopted by WADA’s Foundation Board (Board). The Code of Ethics establishes clear ethical standards over the activities of WADA officials to ensure that the Agency can achieve its global collaborative mission for doping-free sport and protect its guiding values of integrity, openness and excellence.
Following the Board’s approval of the Code of Ethics, WADA established the IEB, which is considered a body of WADA but operates independently of WADA and its Board. In May 2022, the Board approved the IEB’s nine members (seven independent, one nominated by the Public Authorities, and one nominated by the Olympic Movement), and the search for an Ethics Officer was initiated in August 2022.
This new position attracted a field of strong candidates from around the world. WADA’s Nominations Committee (NomsComm) provided support to the IEB in the review and verification of the candidates as well as in the appointment process. The successful candidate was selected by the IEB following the recommendation of the Ethics Officer Selection Panel, composed of members of the IEB and the NomsComm, at the beginning of 2023. Mr. Aubert signed the Ethics Officer service agreement in March prior to attending WADA’s Annual Symposium, during which he was introduced in the Ethics Best Practices session orchestrated by the IEB members.
About the Ethics Officer Role
In addition to managing cases under the Code of Ethics, the Ethics Officer functions as the first point of contact for information on possible breaches of ethics at WADA. The Ethics Officer will also undertake investigations where required, prior to referring any cases to the IEB for adjudication.
The Ethics Officer will be responsible and accountable for:
- Ensuring the existence of effective and efficient reporting systems to enable officials and any other persons to report information and/or lodge complaints of suspected breaches of the Code of Ethics.
- Ensuring proper oversight, management, prioritization, and efficacy of all investigative operations.
- Preparing detailed written reports for the IEB outlining results of investigations and, where required, presenting reports to IEB-appointed panels.
- Preparing written notices to persons subject to investigation and maintaining communication with complainants throughout the investigative process.
- Where relevant, liaising with law enforcement bodies on matters potentially involving breaches of criminal law.
- Being the subject matter expert on all matters related to the Code of Ethics, able to advise the IEB specifically, and other departments and/or bodies of WADA where relevant.
- Performing any other duties as required by the IEB, for example, assisting WADA and the IEB in their education and awareness objectives concerning ethics.
About the Reporting System
Following the appointment of the Ethics Officer, the IEB and Mr. Aubert agreed on the inaugural reporting system for complaints lodged under the Code of Ethics. In the next two months, the Ethics Officer will work closely with WADA’s Information Technology Department to set-up this new independent and confidential reporting platform. It is expected to become operational in May 2023 and will be directly and solely managed by the Ethics Officer.
In the meantime, anyone who wishes to report information or lodge a complaint under the Code of Ethics, can do so by contacting the Ethics Officer by email at Ethics.Officer@wada-ama.org. While the reporting platform will allow for anonymous reports/complaints, anonymity of the informant/complainant cannot be guaranteed when the reporting process is initiated by email.
An announcement will be made when the reporting platform is to be officially launched.
About Mr. Gautier Aubert
An attorney at law and founding partner of law firm Aubert-Hug in Le Landeron, Switzerland, Gautier Aubert is a Swiss national with broad experience in the world of sports and sports law. After obtaining a Master of Sports Law from the University of Neuchâtel (of which one semester was completed at Columbia Law School) in 2012, he went on to pass the Swiss Bar Exam in 2014. He was then employed for almost four years at the International Football Federation (FIFA) and headed its Ethics Department from August 2017 to September 2018. He is currently a Clerk for the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Tribunal, where he deals with both human and equine anti-doping matters. Mr. Aubert is a native French speaker, is fluent in English and has a working knowledge of Spanish, German and Italian.
For any queries, feel free to contact WADA’s Governance Manager, Samantha Dubois, at email@example.com.
For more information on the Independent Ethics Board, please visit its dedicated website here (the development of which will be fully completed in the next few weeks).
For reports related to suspected breaches of the WADA Code of Ethics, please contact the Ethics Officer at Ethics.Officer@wada-ama.org until the reporting platform is officially launched.