Brendon Gale (Richmond CEO)
The former Tigers player is as ready as anyone could be to do the job having emerged after 244 games with a law degree and a career in sports administration ahead of him. Gale was CEO of the AFL Players’ Association before becoming Tigers CEO, leading the club out of debt and to three premierships in a golden reign. Having grown up in Tasmania he understands the issues in that state. He has a good mix of football and commercial nous and is very personable and down to earth. He would handle the profile well, but the pandemic didn’t help his cause with some members of the AFL Commission when he represented his club strongly after they upset the league on more than one occasion on their way to the 2020 flag.
Travis Auld (Executive finance, clubs and broadcasting)
He was the first CEO at the Gold Coast in 2009 emerging from a role as chief operations officer at Essendon, a club he had joined in 1996, to lead the expansion club before returning in an executive role at the AFL midway through 2014. His stocks have risen during the pandemic when he handled ongoing negotiations with all levels of government to unveil a football fixture while keeping the clubs informed. One of the few AFL executives with club experience, he has also managed the broad and vital remit of broadcasting while managing the game’s finances during a challenging period. The AFL chairman and AFL Commission respect his style and his public profile has grown in recent seasons.
Xavier Campbell (Essendon CEO)
Turned down the opportunity to join the AFL in a role that would have had him perfectly placed to make a pitch for the job choosing to remain at the Bombers to see them through to on-field success after negotiating the club through the drugs saga. Well-respected at Essendon he has the charisma and decision-making ability to handle the role, and he would cope with the profile of the role. He would also have ideas that keep the league connected to the game and supporters.
Sam Mostyn (Business leader and Sydney board member)
In 2005, Mostyn became the first women to join the AFL Commission, a pioneer in a male dominated industry who helped the game advance its thinking in a myriad of social issues. Mostyn advocated for the advent of AFLW and the greater involvement of women in football and was a key figure as the game grew its reach, became financially rich and extended into Greater Western Sydney and Gold Coast. Mostyn would be a change agent, and would give the AFL an outward view.
Stuart Fox (MCC CEO)
After establishing himself in football at Geelong he was Hawthorn CEO during the club’s golden period when they won three premierships from 2013-2015 serving alongside AFL commissioner Andrew Newbold, who was the Hawks’ president. He then landed one of the plum jobs in Australian sport when he became MCC CEO in 2017, overseeing the iconic MCG and navigating the pandemic when crowds and revenue disappeared overnight. He understands the game, has deep connections throughout sport and the political sphere and has a down to earth approach that commands loyalty.
Patrick Delaney (Foxtel CEO)
He became Foxtel CEO in 2018 after being head of Fox Sports from 2011 where he forged strong relationships within the game and across the sporting landscape. The AFL has morphed into an entertainment company with opportunities for growth across a segmented media landscape. Delaney would be able to navigate the league into a new era, pushing its vision beyond the region.