Schwab named new Demons CEO - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Schwab named new Demons CEO

25/08/2008 07:16:56 PM Comments (0)

Respected football administrator Cameron Schwab has returned to the besieged Melbourne Football Club to face perhaps the most daunting task in the AFL.

But it took an 11th hour plea by chairman Jim Stynes to persuade him to again sign on as CEO of the stricken club - as late as last Friday Schwab was wrestling with the decision.

"There's been a fair bit of consternation I must admit, personally and from a family perspective but the minute I made the choice I just felt totally comfortable with it," Schwab said.

He said he was finally swayed by a sense of responsibility and said the choice to become the club's third CEO this year felt "natural."

The former Richmond, Melbourne and Fremantle chief executive will try to save a club lurching out of control, burdened by a $5 million debt and ridiculed for just three wins this season.

"The challenges facing Melbourne are severe and if anyone thinks it's some sort of cynical means by which we generate a few bob well they mightn't be watching their footy club go around in how many years time," he said.

"The first stage is about survival, it's about securing its next salary payment, securing its next rental payment.

"Then over time it's about building a club which can then sustain itself without necessarily having to go and convince the AFL of the need to support it the way it does.

"It needs to be able to make its own way in the world."

Schwab, 44, originally declined the position after leaving Fremantle mid-year but said he was swayed after a "full-on weekend" of talks with the Melbourne administration.

Immediately after his three-year appointment was announced he prepared Demon supporters for the prospect of more pain, saying on-field success would need to be sacrificed for the survival of the club.

But Schwab has a record of success - in his last position with Fremantle he took a club with an $8 million debt and 12,000 members to one boasting three successive years of $1 million profit and the third highest membership in the AFL.

He said his decision, 25 years after he began his football administration career at Melbourne, had been largely based on what he felt was achievable.

"What Jim's been able to do and his board's been able to do is bring hope back to the organisation and I think hope's the most important thing any football club can have," Schwab said.

"And it's my job now to match hope with building expectation and ultimately performance as a club.

"In the end it boils down to the contribution of many people over an extended period of time.

"That then enables (coach) Dean (Bailey) and his team to focus on what they need to do to be a great football team - produce champion players and champion football teams.

"That will be compromised in the shorter term because it has to be because securing the club actually requires that," he said.

However Schwab said he remained committed to returning Melbourne to an on on-field success, saying: "No doubt this is about silverware as well."

Schwab succeeds former tennis administrator Paul McNamee, who was sacked when the Stynes-led board took over. McNamee was in the job for just three months following the resignation earlier this year of Steve Harris.

Schwab first started working for Melbourne at the age of 18 in 1982, eventually becoming recruiting manager before leaving to become general manager of Richmond at 24 - the youngest person in the history of the league to hold this position.

After six years at Richmond, Schwab studied business administration and marketing for two years then returned as CEO of Melbourne.

In 1998, the Demons made the preliminary final, having finished last the previous year, and were Grand Finalists in 2000.

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