Melbourne Storm appoints new CEO - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Melbourne Storm appoints new CEO

By John Salvado 21/07/2010 06:52:42 PM Comments (0)

New Melbourne chief executive Ron Gauci hasn't given up hope of retaining superstar centre Greg Inglis as he vowed that the Storm's next NRL premiership would be won fair and square.

Just hours after taking on the toughest job in Australian sport - with the Storm's books a mess and their reputation in even worse state - Gauci pledged to do everything possible to keep the playing group together while also shedding $1.3 million in payments to get under next year's salary cap.

Representative stars Ryan Hoffman, Jeff Lima and Brett Finch have already signed with English giants Wigan, while Kiwi internationals Sika Manu and Adam Blair have also had interest from other clubs.

But it is Gauci's ability to keep the "Fab Four" of Inglis, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and skipper Cameron Smith together that will determine his early success in the eyes of the Storm faithful, with Inglis having already been heavily linked with a move to Brisbane.'

"The first priority is to make sure we go through the list and we determine exactly with the NRL and with (coach) Craig Bellamy and the administration where we are from a cap point of view and from there we'll make decisions, (but) it's not just about Greg," said Gauci, who replaced acting CEO Frank Stanton on Wednesday.

"We do have to make sure we understand the parameters of the cap requirements and we'll be making those decisions in due course.

"It is my top priority and we'll be doing that as soon as possible.

"It's not just about Greg, there are other players who want to know that and we know there are other clubs who want to know as well.

"Our next premiership is going to a legitimate premiership."

Gauci comes from an IT background and said his previous link with Storm owners News Limited came during a stint with AAP Communication Services, a former subsidiary of Australian Associated Press, which is equally owned by News Limited and Fairfax.

He arrives at the club as a relative unknown in sporting circles, and represents a break with tradition for the Storm who have previously hired chief executives with either a background in rugby league or Victorian sport as they looked to establish a foothold in the AFL stronghold.

But while restoring the Storm's standing in Melbourne's sporting landscape - shattered by the club's systematic rorting of the NRL salary cap which cost them their 2007 and 2009 premierships - will be a priority, Gauci's first port of call will be one he is far more comfortable with.

"What the directors wanted here was a person with a business background because the Melbourne Storm is a business and the elements required to manage a business here, whether it's a sporting club or an IT (company), they're the same," he said.

"We do need to run this business so Melbourne Storm is financially viable independently."

"We know this is a tough task so the reality is that we think that's going to take at least a couple of years and (News Limited chairman) John Hartigan has already supported that.

"We know that's how long it's going to take."

" ... there's a job to be done and coming from a business background we're going to look at the numbers very ruthlessly to make sure we comply (with the salary cap)."

Gauci said he was yet to read the full Deloitte report commissioned by News Limited into the Storm's salary cap rorting and did not know whether it would be made available to him.

He revealed he first applied for the position of Storm CEO prior to revelations in April of widespread salary cap rorting which led to the demise of chief executive Brian Waldron.

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