NORTH Melbourne president James Brayshaw rates the shock exit of chief executive Eugene Arocca a bigger concern than the AFL club’s on-field woes.
Already enduring a horror week after Saturday’s 115-point drubbing from Hawthorn — their fourth loss in five games — the Kangaroos were in crisis yesterday when Arocca quit, labelling his position untenable.
His resignation came after the club’s board told him last month they were unsure whether they would renew his contract when it expired this October.
There was also a backdrop of alleged rifts between himself and Brayshaw and between the chief executive and Kangaroos football manager Donald McDonald.
Brayshaw denied any feuds, but admitted there had been friction during Arocca’s four-and-a-half year tenure.
“In footy clubs, regularly you get times when people don’t see eye to eye, it’s a robust environment,” Brayshaw said.
“I think Donald and Eugene have great respect for each other.
“I’d be lying if I said they always see eye to eye, the same way I’d be lying if I said Eugene and I always saw eye to eye.
“You don’t, it’s a brutal industry.”
But Brayshaw said he had no inkling that Arocca was disenchanted enough to walk out, or annoyed that the board was reviewing his position.
“It’s just proper board behaviour. It had begun, it was ongoing, he knew everything about it, there was no cloak and dagger about it,” Brayshaw said.
Asked whether he was more worried by the club’s on-field struggles or off-field hole, Brayshaw nominated Arocca’s departure.
“The CEO is of huge importance, because that’s the head of your club,” he said. “You need to get someone really quickly into that position.”
Chief operating officer Cameron Vale has taken over as interim chief executive.
Vale was previously chief financial officer at NRL club Melbourne Storm from 2005-08, during which time the Storm were later found to have breached their salary cap.
However, the Kangaroos stood by Vale when the Storm’s breaches became public in 2010, saying he was a man of integrity who voluntarily left the Storm over concerns about the club’s practices.
Brayshaw said Arocca had achieved a lot for the Kangaroos, most notably spearheading the creation of the club’s $16 million training and administration facility.
He said finding a replacement might take two or three months, but would be made easier because the club was more financially secure than when Arocca was appointed.
“That’s why I have enormous regard for Eugene Arocca, because when he took over at this club there wasn’t a Melbourne Cup field looking to be the CEO,” Brayshaw said.
“He came on board, it was a real leap of faith, he delivered enormously for us.”
Arocca was unable to be contacted for comment, although in his voicemail message said: “The Roos will be OK and I’m fine.”