• PRE should be functioning as per usual. Please email admin@puntroadend.com to report anything odd that is occuring over the next few days as we settle a few database issues.

Why Brendon Gale should be the AFL's next CEO (The Age, May 3 2019)

LeeToRainesToRoach

Get out Gillon
Jun 4, 2006
23,675
899
Melbourne
Why Brendon Gale should be the AFL's next CEO
Caroline Wilson
The Age
May 3, 2019


It is five years almost to the day that Gillon McLachlan was appointed to the biggest job in Australian sport, a job to which he had seemed destined for at least five years before that and a job in which he is expected to remain at least until the end of 2020.

McLachlan was linked to a major multi-million-dollar role with Crown almost 18 months ago and last week a gossipy media item suggested there was a big job on offer from the Seven Network, a rumour he has denied, insisting he will not be leaving the AFL this year.

The earlier Crown report came at a sensitive time for the league CEO.

He came under pressure in late 2017 from News Limited in a shadowy campaign that organisation never managed to establish as factual and which saw McLachlan’s new chairman Richard Goyder firmly stand behind him, prepared he said to take the issue to Rupert Murdoch if he had to.

Whether McLachlan, 45, ever really considered leaving back then is unclear but either way Goyder ensured he would stay. But the top job in Australian rules is demanding and McLachlan said from the outset he would not be a decade-long chief like Andrew Demetriou. He also said he wanted a lesser profile and less scrutinised role by the time his children were going through senior school and his eldest is now 11.

Which is why it is unusual that McLachlan has no succession plan in place, a plan Demetriou was told to prioritise the moment he took on the job in 2003. Some former commissioners, while generally praising McLachlan’s performance, see it as one indictment on his stewardship that not one of his executive team looms as his replacement.

To single out some without damning any, McLachlan’s financial lieutenant Ray Gunston has proved an invaluable right-hand man, Andrew Dillon a long-time solid performer and newcomer Kylie Rogers an innovator. But none is the next AFL chief even if they did aspire to the role - and that seems uncertain. Steve Hocking boasts the football credentials and the thick skin but he is far too early into the revolutionary journey — bound to strike roadblocks — McLachlan has assigned him to be considered.

Also strangely McLachlan has never strongly endorsed the man widely seen as the unbackable favourite to replace him — Richmond chief Brendon Gale. This is not to say he has denigrated Gale but just that other club names are also thrown up in conversation and Gale never openly promoted the way Demetriou promoted McLachlan.

AFL seniors speak in glowing terms of Bombers CEO Xavier Campbell. They take into account his age (39), the task he inherited at a broken Essendon Football Club, the membership and sponsorship strength despite the drug scandal and its fall-out and the financial deals he struck with the 34 banned players — all of which he negotiated outside the salary cap. But club bosses and past and present commissioners alike place Gale well ahead.

The AFL has not moved outside the organisation to appoint a CEO since former St Kilda player Ross Oakley came from the business world back in 1986. And should head office follow the pattern of the past three decades then Gale, 50, remains the outstanding candidate given his pedigree and his performance over the past decades at Richmond.

Gale — like McLachlan boasting a legal background, like Demetriou a past CEO of the AFL Players Association and unlike both having run a club and worked in the media — inherited a failing Richmond, near the bottom of the ladder and a perennial non-finalist, indebted to the tune of $4 million.

The long-term plan he unveiled with former chairman Gary March in 2010 might not reap three flags by 2020 but the club is again an undisputed powerhouse having put the commercial, community and membership platforms in place to safeguard the club beyond this successful football era.

When Gale took over at Tigerland he immediately identified his commercial experience as a weakness and delegated. The partnership with Aligned Leisure looks set to transform the club into a business with a revenue exceeding $100 million. His credentials far outweigh the CV he took to the commission when he was first short-listed for the top AFL job five years ago — a position which was always going to McLachlan.

Interestingly, like the other candidate back then — long-serving Geelong chief Brian Cook — Gale has established a written ethical framework for his club, a framework by which several enterprises and sponsorships have been rejected although the Tigers have not been prepared to dissolve its relationship with gaming machines.

Also like Cook — who oversaw Hocking along with past and present Hawthorn bosses Stuart Fox and Justine Reeves — Gale can boast a club CEO in Cain Liddle from his executive team. Although he originally backed Malcolm Speed to replace March, Gale was pragmatic enough to see that Peggy O’Neal was the better candidate in the end.

Revered and empowered by his own executive team, Gale's partnership with O’Neal endured during 2016 along with some tough decisions taken in ultimately supporting Damien Hardwick that has won Gale strong admiration from the commission. He has shied away from campaigning for a Tasmanian AFL side seeing that in conflict with his role but fellow executives took notice late last year when he posed whether the league was the ‘‘keeper of the code or the keeper of the dollar’’ in relation to the vexed question of Tasmania.

Tasmanian by birth and upbringing Gale’s thinking appears aligned with McLachlan’s where that state’s future is concerned. Should he ultimately win the top job perhaps that could prove a legacy, just as AFLW will rank high on McLachlan’s achievements which have been highlighted by the reigning chief’s ability to negotiate with every required level in the modern game from political leaders to media bosses to coaches to community representatives.

Gale’s communication skills might not be as sharp as Demetriou’s but his public performances indicate he would be a firmer media performer than McLachlan, who rarely takes a strong position on divisive issues.

Succession planning after five years at the helm might seem premature but Demetriou from his very early years saw McLachlan, Ben Buckley and Adrian Anderson as potential successors.

It became clear early on that Anderson’s management style would never see him at the helm. This is despite the fact that he now seems ahead of his time and some of his football and integrity innovations visionary. But he never could win over the majority of the coaches nor the blokey AFL executive team.

Once it became clear McLachlan was the unofficial incumbent Buckley left to take over the round-ball game and then in 2012 Demetriou officially appointed McLachlan his deputy making it virtually impossible for the commission to overlook him.

For what it’s worth, given the one-horse race in early 2014 it remains baffling that the AFL paid an executive search team more than $400,000 to come up with the field for Demetriou’s replacement, a field that failed to include candidates from any other sport or walk of life. We could have shortlisted the only two others — club chiefs Gale and Cook - for free. And while both were encouraged to apply they were never truly in the hunt.

Perhaps McLachlan’s lukewarm endorsement of Gale would indicate he does not see his successor as coming from clubland. Historically no AFL chief has worked in any club role but surely that should not preclude an exception. And few have boasted the credentials of Gale at a time that no internal candidate exists.

Or perhaps unlike Demetriou, McLachlan does not see succession planning as his responsibility at this stage. Perhaps, despite the speculation, he is not quite ready to contemplate his AFL end game.

https://www.theage.com.au/sport/afl/why-brendon-gale-should-be-the-afl-s-next-ceo-20190503-p51jsq.html

-----

Interesting article following comments from club personnel at the AGM suggesting the AFL had frustrated Richmond on several fronts.
 

Nico

You psychopathological reactionary!
Jul 1, 2004
1,507
62
Melbourne
LeeToRainesToRoach said:
Interesting article following comments from club personnel at the AGM suggesting the AFL had frustrated Richmond on several fronts.
Can you advise how the AFL frustrated Richmond?
 

caesar

Tiger Champion
Feb 9, 2015
2,998
967
Nico said:
Can you advise how the AFL frustrated Richmond?
No inaugural women's license and being overlooked in the joint AFL/Local Gov't blueprint on the redevelopment of the MCG and Richmond Station precinct for starters.
 

Dont Argue

Tiger Superstar
Jun 26, 2018
1,003
6
caesar said:
No inaugural women's license and being overlooked in the joint AFL/Local Gov't blueprint on the redevelopment of the MCG and Richmond Station precinct for starters.
That's a fair start Caesar.
Been going on for ever, including blocking Plugger from coming to Richmond, even when he'd signed a contract with us.
No doubt when they feared us, they learnt to hate us.
 

TOT70

I'm just a suburban boy
Jul 27, 2004
8,862
484
Melbourne
Given the impact he has had on Richmond, should he take over the AFL and be half as successful, the game will only get stronger.
 

TigerMasochist

Walks softly carries a big stick.
Jul 13, 2003
18,430
632
Probably a good chance that Polo Gill n his cronies will shuffle us Tiggys even further down into the shite basket.
 

jb03

Tiger Legend
Jan 28, 2004
26,738
536
Melbourne
Richmond have been responsible for half the attendance and other records in recent years. I've never really understood AFL HQ's disdain for us.
 

TigerFlag2017

Tiger Legend
May 16, 2007
5,099
623
I could have written the same content in a quarter of what she wrote.

Pretty cringeworthy, benny would be embarrassed by her dribble.
 

Bullarto Tiger

Tiger Legend
Mar 17, 2012
8,152
977
jb03 said:
Richmond have been responsible for half the attendance and other records in recent years. I've never really understood AFL HQ's disdain for us.
Because when the Tigers are a powerhouse Richmond IS the AFL
 

22nd Man

Tiger Champion
Aug 29, 2011
4,685
246
Essex Heights
TigerFlag2017 said:
I could have written the same content in a quarter of what she wrote.

Pretty cringeworthy, benny would be embarrassed by her dribble.
Has a word quota to fill. Caros doing all her journo stuff in her sleep these days. Easing gently into her dotage.
 

seven

Super Tiger
Apr 20, 2004
19,551
765
The AFL wanted Gale to throw his hat in the ring when they were going through the motions last time.
Everyone knew Gill was going to get the job.
Remember Gale said he had a few things to finish off at RFC first.

I say he’s done want he achieved to do for the club.
Next step would be the AFL pigeon for the board.
 

LeeToRainesToRoach

Get out Gillon
Jun 4, 2006
23,675
899
Melbourne
Caro wouldn't have written this if Gale didn't have designs on the job. Make it happen, even if it requires a GetUp!-style campaign to oust Gillon. There's plenty of material to work with.
 
E

easy_tiger

Guest
I don't get why people want Benny Gale working for 18 clubs, instead of just ours?

I barrack for Richmond, not The AFL
 

LeeToRainesToRoach

Get out Gillon
Jun 4, 2006
23,675
899
Melbourne
easy said:
I don't get why people want Benny Gale working for 18 clubs, instead of just ours?

I barrack for Richmond, not The AFL
The AFL makes me irate. I want to enjoy the game again, not just my club.

Gale has restored Richmond to health, and the way is clear for the torch to be passed so that Gale can ensure a level playing field and the club can become greater.
 

TigerMasochist

Walks softly carries a big stick.
Jul 13, 2003
18,430
632
easy said:
I don't get why people want Benny Gale working for 18 clubs, instead of just ours?

I barrack for Richmond, not The AFL
Yep. I'm mighty proud of the job Benny has done for us over the years in restoring Richmond back to the upper echelons of the competition.

Last thing I want is to start hating on Benny 'coz he's helping out other arse pick clubs to our detriment by trying to manufacture an even competition by dragging back n undermining successful clubs.