The AFL finally gets a new boss after a global search that lasted a year sees the league appoint Andrew Dillon as CEO – and he was working down the hall from Gillon McLachlan the whole time
- Andrew Dillon gets a nod after a lengthy search
- Currently executive GM of league football operations
- Will not replace McLachlan until the end of the season
The AFL will appoint Andrew Dillon as its new CEO after a lengthy global search found the man in an office near incumbent Gillon McLachlan.
Dillon currently serves as the AFL’s general manager of football operations, legal affairs and integrity, as well as the organization’s general counsel.
He will replace McLachlan at the end of this season, a move that will be announced at a media conference in Melbourne on Monday morning.
As CEO, McLachlan will continue to address issues including the entry of a Tasmanian club into the AFL and the ongoing independent investigation into claims of historic racism at Hawthorn.
Dillon (pictured right with outgoing CEO Gil McLachlan, third from left, at Friday’s St Kilda vs Port match) will not take over the top job until October 2
Dillon has been with the AFL for 23 years after originally coming on board as a legal counsel and currently serves as the league’s executive general manager of football operations
McLachlan announced in April last year that he was quitting his job and wanted to retire at the end of last season.
But he was urged to stay on by the AFL commission amid a global search for a replacement.
The hunt eventually ended up with Dillon, who joined the league in 2000 as a legal adviser.
Dillon has since held various positions, including general manager in areas such as legal and corporate affairs, as well as national and international development.
The way the search went on infuriated some footy powerbrokers, with Eddie McGuire telling the league to ‘swallow its pride’ and keep McLachlan in the top juob in comments made last week.
McLachlan (pictured with Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles during the Anzac Day match between Collingwood and Essendon) remains on board to continue working on big issues such as Tasmania’s successful bid to join the AFL
Respected AFL reporter Caroline Wilson branded the lengthy process “shameful” when league president Richard Goyder made an inappropriate joke in front of club heavyweights in Adelaide for Gather Round.
He reportedly suggested that South Australian Prime Minister Peter Malinauskas should be McLachlan’s successor.
“I have never seen an AFL president receive such a disappointing reception from the rest of the clubs. The clubs are very disappointed with Richard Goyder and not happy with the process,” said Wilson.
Raving about the South Australian premier, his tall stature, his good looks and his amateur football background, Goyder joked that Peter Malinauskas wasn’t much like Gillon McLachlan and that maybe he should be the next AFL CEO.
Frankly, this was insulting, especially to four of the five candidates who were in the room when he made that joke, who have all spent most of the past year going for the job, and who have all had their marks tarnished by Richard Goyder’s performance.’
Dillon said he was impressed with his new position shortly after his appointment became official.
“I am honored and truly humbled,” Dillon said in a statement Monday.
“Football has been a defining part of my life and it is a privilege to lead the industry by ensuring our game remains relevant, accessible and welcoming to all Australians.”
The outgoing CEO is pictured with South Australian Prime Minister Peter Malinauskas at the Gather Round in Adelaide. AFL president Richard Goyder reportedly sidelined club bosses with an inappropriate joke about the state leader taking over from McLachlan
“Andrew has been an important leader and voice in every decision we have made as an organization for many years,” AFL President Richard Goyder said in a statement.
“In addition to experience in both elite and community football, he brings significant involvement in our major broadcasting and partnership agreements and in developing and shaping the AFL’s response to a number of important social issues.”
Dillon outlined a mission for the AFL to be “unparalleled in comparison to other sports and to develop growing global interest.”
His appointment has led to a reshuffling of other senior management positions.
Current General Manager of League Management, Laura Kane, will now become Acting General Manager of Football.
And current general manager of legal and regulatory affairs, Stephen Meade, will become the league’s general counsel.