Blues CEO shock as Simon Lethlean overlooked

The Age, Sport, Mark LoGiudice and Kate Jenkins who has just become a board member of The Carlton Football club.pic Simon Schluter 30 November 2015.
The Age, Sport, Mark LoGiudice and Kate Jenkins who has just become a board member of The Carlton Football club.pic Simon Schluter 30 November 2015.

Carlton have surprisingly overlooked former AFL executive Simon Lethlean and appointed former Geelong player Cain Liddle as their new CEO.

Lethlean had been strongly favoured for the position after he was understood to have reached at least an informal agreement with Carlton president Mark LoGiudice about a month ago.

It was the availability of Lethlean that was understood to be have been significant in the decision to move on former CEO Stephen Trigg, who will finish up with the club on Friday.

Lethlean has been well supported for a new role at a club by AFL chief executive Gill McLachlan. The Blues opted for Liddle instead, in large part, because they felt he had a superior commercial background to Lethlean.

???Board members had been troubled that the hunt for process for the new CEO be seen as a boys' club appointment and wanted a full and proper process.

Despite Lethlean being highly favoured at the outset, that process ended up turning up a candidate the panel figured to be better suited than the former AFL football operations boss.

???Liddle was chief customer officer at the Richmond Football Club as well as being managing director of Aligned Leisure, the club's subsidiary company operating nine health and recreation facilities which return revenues of up to $15 million a year for Richmond.

Liddle has done an MBA, the Australian Institute of Company Directors course and is doing a Doctorate of Business. He will start with Carlton on Monday.

Liddle played four games for the Cats and went on to be an assistant coach at junior football clubs Calder Cannons and Vic Metro.

The decision on the appointment was made by a panel comprising LoGiudice and high-profile Carlton directors Kate Jenkins and Chris Judd, as well as David Campbell from recruiting firm Egon Zehnder.

Jenkins, the Australian sex discrimination commissioner, joined the panel as the club tried to allay concerns of a lack of transparency in the process. Jenkins' inclusion on the panel was seen to herald a shift in attitude in the appointment process.

Judd recently joined the board as a replacement for long-serving board member and former player Adrian Gleeson. Judd previously had a role in selecting Brendon Bolton as the coach to replace Mick Malthouse.

Collingwood remain in the hunt for a new CEO after the Western Bulldogs appointed St Kilda executive Ameet Bains and Hawthorn hired Geelong executive Justin Reeves.

While the Bulldogs and Saints made quick appointments, Collingwood have undertaken a review by board member and acting chief executive Peter Murphy and others before searching for a replacement for Gary Pert.

This story Blues CEO shock as Simon Lethlean overlooked first appeared on The Age.