A KEY PLAYER in bringing AFL premiership season matches to Ballarat will watch the action unfold simply as a fan. Long-standing North Ballarat chief executive officer Mark Patterson quit the club, effective immediately. Mr Patterson announced his move to staff and the public on Friday, having turned in his resignation to the board a day earlier.
It is the end of an era for the club, which has captured three consecutive Victorian Football League premierships (2008-2010), built a 10-year partnership with AFL club North Melbourne and underwent a series of major capital works to make Eureka Stadium worthy of hosting AFL.
Mr Patterson said his contract was nearly up and, after taking stock, he wanted to move to a new challenge.
“It was right timing,” Mr Patterson said. "This is not a season’s end reason for staying on longer. I take the philosophical view that once you’re mind is made up, you don’t really see the value in hanging around...I think it’s right to enable the club to make plans.
Mr Patterson took on the newly-created CEO role at the club in 2007, just as the Roosters were entering a VFL partnership with North Melbourne. He has overseen all arms of the club, including the reintroduction of North Ballarat City in to the Ballarat Football League and North Ballarat Sports Club.
When he arrived, Mr Patterson knew no-one in Ballarat. He now serves on the boards of Ballarat Health Services and Ballarat Clarendon College, and will stay on in senior roles for both.
“When I spoke to staff, I said it was not about what I’ve been about to do with the club, it’s what the club has provided me in opportunitites,” Mr Patterson said. “BHS, school boards and part of what the Committee for Ballarat do are all very special, regional-based opportunities you would not necessarily get in a metropolitan environment.”
Mr Patterson plans to take time to consider what it best for his career and family, but said the club was well-positioned to continue its growth.
North Ballarat chairman Jenny Bromley said Mr Patterson had created an impressive legacy and would leave a big hole in the club. Ms Bromley was confident the club had good people in place, in both the football department and sports club, to finish the season strong.
“One of the real strength’s Mark had was to develop relationships with key stakeholders and staff. Certainly that’s something we’ll need to continue with,” Ms Bromley said. “We have a lot going on, especially with AFL coming to town, and we’re looking at what it means as a club and in managing the venue.
“We thank Mark for all the work he has done for the club and wish him and his family well. He’s got a real passion for football and has been a great supporter.”
Mr Patterson looked forward to enjoying club games as a supporter, particularly cheering son Charles in North Ballarat under-16.5s.
North Ballarat will start its search for a new CEO in coming months.
READ MORE: North Ballarat football chief quits
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