Essendon has announced Andrew Thorburn as its new CEO, just days after Brad Scott was appointed the Bombers’ head coach.
In more positive signs for the club, after a turbulent couple of months, Thorburn was described by president Dave Barham as “a highly credentialed leader”.
Thorburn, a former NAB CEO between 2014 and 2019, was initially brought on at the club to assist in the search for a new coach, joining the likes of Robert Walls and Jordan Lewis on an external panel.
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But Barham said it quickly became apparent that Thorburn was a “man of great integrity” and “exceptional vision”.
“Part of my responsibility as president is to ensure that we have the very best people at the club and this was critical when it came to the position of CEO,” Barham said.
“To do this, we canvassed the industry and encouraged several candidates to enter the process for this role.
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“One of the people we asked to join the process was Andrew. Whilst he initially came to the club on a short-term basis to co-ordinate the external review, we believed we couldn’t overlook someone of his calibre and that he needed to be tested within our process against the field of candidates.”
Barham said Thorburn was “immediately removed” from any oversight in the club’s CEO search and formally entered the process a week later, being interviewed with other candidates last week.
“In Andrew, we have secured a highly credentialed leader, with a proven track record in development and building the leadership capabilities of his people,” Barham praised.
“(Andrew) impressed the board with his understanding of the AFL system but also the business of sport on a global scale. Most importantly though, Andrew has demonstrated throughout his business career that he can execute the priorities that the organisation has.
“We are incredibly excited to welcome Andrew and his family into the Essendon Football Club. He is a lifelong Bombers supporter and we look forward to our members meeting him and understanding his incredible passion for our club.”
Thorburn takes over from Xavier Campbell, who departed the club after nearly nine years in the position.
Campbell’s exit came just days after Ben Rutten was infamously sacked – more than a week after the botched bid to lure Alastair Clarkson to the club as coach.
Both Thorburn and Scott will speak at the club’s Crichton Medal count on Monday night in their new roles.