AFL appoints Andrew Dillon as next chief executive

Andrew Dillon will be the next chief executive of the AFL.

Andrew Dillon will be the next chief executive of the AFL. Photo: AAP

The AFL’s chairman is defending its “incredibly competitive” global search for a new chief executive, after it landed on Andrew Dillon, an occupant of an office near incumbent Gillon McLachlan.

Dillon, who is the AFL’s executive general manager football operations, legal and integrity, as well as the organisation’s general counsel, will take over from McLachlan on October 2.

AFL chairman Richard Goyder said Dillon – who has been at the AFL since 2000 – was the “standout candidate” from a prolonged search that began when McLachlan announced he was quitting in April last year.

“[Dillon] is an exceptional football person. He has been a key leader in the AFL, he has been involved in every major decision of the AFL for many years,” Mr Goyder said on Monday.

He said there was “a field of high-quality candidates in what was a very, very competitive search process”.

“It was incredibly competitive,” Mr Goyder said.

“The process identified a number of excellent candidates both within the football industry and externally.”

Club bosses were told of the decision to appoint Dillon on Monday morning. At the public announcement that followed, the incoming CEO was asked if elevating an in-house corporate lawyer to the league’s top job suggested a lack of diversity within the AFL.

“You only have to look at the calibre of our executive team and the calibre of my football integrity and legal team to say there’s no boys’ club here,” Dillon said.

“We’ve got a talented, diverse workforce and everyone’s opinions are listened to and acted on. The more diverse the talent, the better decisions.

“I don’t buy that [claim of a boys’ club] one bit.”

Dillion, describing his appointment as humbling, said his mission was to ensure “our game continues to expand its reach”.

“I want to have footy in every home across the country,” he said.

“We are going to make sure that football is the number one sport of choice for everyone all across Australia.”

McLachlan, who has been CEO since April 2014, wanted to stand down at the end of last season but was urged to stay on by the AFL commission amid a global search for a replacement.

The hunt ultimately landed on Dillon, who has held several positions since arriving at the AFL, including general manager of areas including legal and business affairs, as well as national and international development.

His appointment has prompted a reshuffle in other senior management roles at the AFL.

The current general manager of competition management, Laura Kane, will become acting general manager of football.

And the incumbent general manager of legal and regulatory, Stephen Meade, will become the league’s general counsel.

– with AAP

Topics: AFL
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