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SBD Global/April 29, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Australian Football League Deputy CEO McLachlan May Get CEO Role Within Week

AFL Deputy CEO Gillon McLachlan expected to get AFL CEO position.
Australian Football League Deputy CEO Gillon McLachlan’s "widely anticipated appointment to the AFL’s top job is expected to come within a week and could be announced in the coming days as the commission wraps up a two-month executive search" for CEO Andrew Demetriou’s replacement, according to Caroline Wilson of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The South Australian, who joined the AFL with Demetriou in '00 and rose to the exec three years later, "is understood to have shored up his position after the league’s headhunters Egon Zehnder fielded approaches from more than 100 male and female candidates." McLachlan "knocked back an approach to head the newly restructured National Rugby League at the end of 2012." It "has not been revealed whether the AFL targeted outside candidates." At least five club chiefs -- Brian Cook, Stuart Fox, Brendon Gale, David Matthews and Gary Pert -- "were approached, with at least two -- Fox and Pert -- declining interviews" (SMH, 4/28). In Sydney, Robinson & Baker wrote Demetriou could make way for McLachlan by mid-season if "the deputy chief executive wins the race." An announcement "is expected within a fortnight." Demetriou had said that "he would stay on until the end of the year, but it is understood he is open to an early exit in the event of a handover to McLachlan." If it is not an internal appointment, Demetriou "would almost certainly stay until the end of the season" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 4/28). In Melbourne, Wilson wrote the leadership void at the helm of Australian football "appears to be nearing an end." Evidence "was mounting" that the most powerful man in football was not AFL Commission Chair Mike Fitzpatrick nor Demetriou, but Collingwood President Eddie McGuire. The "good news for the AFL" is that near-certain new chief McLachlan "comes heavily recommended by McGuire." It "is true that most clubs back McLachlan, but having McGuire onside is the trump card." McGuire as the true power in the AFL system "is helped by the fact he sits on most AFL working parties that matter." When the league needs to bring clubs on board, "it enlists McGuire." Ditto "when it needs to win over the public" (THE AGE, 4/28).
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