Mark Hahto, a three-decade executive in high-performance summer sport, has been give the task of director of summer sports for Own the Podium, to help Canadian athletes win more Olympic and Paralympic medals.
Hahto has had 10 years of management experience with international, national and provincial swimming organizations as a coach, team manager. He's been chief operating officer at Swimming Canada since 2007.
“Mark is an exceptional talent whose background in working with elite athletes, business acumen and strategic leadership skills bring immense value to Own the Podium as we continue to deliver the resources Canadian athletes need to excel against the world’s best,” said Anne Merklinger, OTP's chief executive officer.
As chief operating officer of Swimming Canada, Hahto played a lead role in the development and implementation of the national body's Vision 2020 strategic plan, with a mandate to be among the top-six medal producing swimming nations at both the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games.
“He will be dearly missed at Swimming Canada, but our loss is a tremendous gain to the whole sporting community,” said Pierre Lafontaine, Swimming Canada's chief executive officer and national coach, Swimming Canada.
Hahto is described in the OTP announcement as “a passionate, decisive and pragmatic leader.”
“Working in Canada’s sport system, I have always believed in Own the Podium’s uncompromising mandate of excellence,” said Hahto. “Led by the vision of its highly-respected Board of Directors, I am excited to have the opportunity to work with a dynamic team of individuals who share a powerful vision to shape the culture of sport in Canada.”
Hahto, who will begin his new role on June 1, replaces Anne Merklinger as summer sport director. Merklinger became Own the Podium’s chief executive officer in January.