Paul McNamee dumped as Demons CEO - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Paul McNamee dumped as Demons CEO

23/07/2008 08:12:56 PM Comments (0)

Sacked Melbourne chief executive Paul McNamee knew he was on borrowed time the moment Jim Stynes took over as chairman of the AFL club.

McNamee, a former tennis star and high-profile sports administrator, confirmed he had been dumped by Stynes and his new board, less than four months after he was appointed, in April.

The man he initially beat for the job, Geelong's chief operating officer Stuart Fox, is now seen as the frontrunner to replace him.

Outgoing Fremantle chief executive Cameron Schwab, who previously held administrative roles at Melbourne, is also a contender, although Stynes said the selection process would be open to a wide field.

McNamee said the writing had been on the wall since Stynes replaced Paul Gardner as chairman of the ailing, debt-laden club last month.

"I think there was probably a disconnect from the moment the new team came in," McNamee said.

"I think they had a certain direction and it seems that was at odds as far as I was concerned.

"At the end of the day, they're the board, they get to choose, so it's disappointing."

Stynes, while not a board member at the time, was part of a panel which helped select McNamee.

But he admitted he was unhappy at being cut out of the final part of that process, when the choice was made between McNamee and Fox.

However, he denied that experience played a part in him sacking McNamee.

Asked whether he would have preferred Fox to have been given the job initially, Stynes said he had not been given enough time with the two candidates to make that call.

"My recommendation at that point was it needed another thorough (interview) because it was more of a verbal chat about where they saw our club and what they could do," Stynes said of his involvement.

Fox had been seen as a likely successor to Cats' chief executive Brian Cook, before Cook last week signed a new three-year deal, rejecting an offer to head up the new Gold Coast franchise.

The decision to sack McNamee is a costly one for the Demons, who were already on track for a loss of more than $2 million this year, which would blow out their debt to nearly $5 million.

The Demons are contractually obliged to give the departing chief executive a payout of about $115,000.

But Stynes said his board should not be held responsible for the wasteful exercise, as they did not appoint him.

"It was the old board," Stynes said.

"When you come in, you have to look at every part of the business and we've spent the past five weeks since we came in looking at every part of the business and we've come up with this decision."

While Stynes declined to detail the reasons for McNamee's sacking, he said his lack of a football background was one of a range of factors taken into account.

The fact that Stynes himself, a former club great, could fill the role of a front man to boost the club's marketing efforts, part of McNamee's initial appeal, also played a part.

Stynes' decision has him under pressure to make the next appointment a good one - McNamee's successor will be the club's seventh chief executive in 12 years - amid a wretched season, which has yielded only two wins.

Adding to the turmoil, chief finance officer George Savvides also recently resigned.

Gardner said he was surprised and disappointed by McNamee's sacking, saying he was "a world-class administrator", but added he did not want to criticise the new board.

"It's Jim's call and I support the club and I support the board," Gardner said.

Fox declined to comment.

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