Gold Coast AFL team appoint first CEO - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gold Coast AFL team appoint first CEO

15/05/2009 06:04:30 PM Comments (0)

In a major coup, the fledgling Gold Coast AFL club have lured leading Essendon official Travis Auld away from a shot at Windy Hill's top job to make him their inaugural chief executive.

Auld, the Bombers' current chief operating officer, will start his new role on the Coast from June 22 as they build towards their inaugural AFL season in 2011.

Auld had been considered a frontrunner to replace Peter Jackson, who will stand down this year after 14 years as Essendon boss, a reign longer than any other current club chief executive.

But making history with the Gold Coast proved too big a carrot for Auld - much to GCFC chairman John Witheriff's delight.

"This is one of the most challenging and exciting roles in AFL football," Witheriff said.

"Travis has a unique opportunity to take us on our journey to create the most exciting sporting club in Australia.

"With his vast experience and success gained from working with Essendon for the past 10 years, he is well credentialled and ideally suited to be the first CEO of the Gold Coast Football Club."

Auld's appointment was even more surprising considering Geelong's chief operating officer Stuart Fox had been considered the favourite after the shock withdrawal of GCFC acting chief operating officer Scott Munn.

While Auld had a chance to replace Jackson at an established AFL powerhouse, he said helping build a new franchise was an offer too good to refuse.

"It is never easy to leave a club like Essendon but the challenge of setting up a new AFL franchise was one I could not pass up," Auld said.

"It is a great opportunity for me personally but more importantly for the Gold Coast community and the AFL competition as a whole.

"The support of the AFL, government at all levels and the broader community gives me great confidence this club can quickly become a competitive participant in the AFL and an important part of the Gold Coast community.

"I can't wait to get started.

"I am not underestimating the challenges ahead but from what I have already seen I believe the Gold Coast Football Club can build the strong foundations for on and off field success."

His Essendon mentor Jackson understood Auld's surprise move.

"I have no doubt Travis has the capacity to take on what is a challenging and exciting role and we wish him all the best," Jackson said.

"It has given me great pleasure to watch him develop during his time at the club."

The Gold Coast recently met the AFL's final condition to get the league's 17th licence when the Federal Government kicked in $36 million towards redeveloping Carrara stadium.

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