With the appointment of Craig McRae as our AFL senior coach confirmed and the AFL program taking shape, I thought it timely to update you on other significant club matters.
First, I have informed the Collingwood board of my intention to step down as a director at the end of my elected term, the end of the 2022 season.
My role as president has been to see Collingwood settle, transition and reposition itself on and off the field in the wake of the departure in February of long time president Eddie McGuire.
With a relatively new board in place at the time, it was important to provide continuity between one age and the next.
After my appointment as president, the board and I focused on some key issues.
First, our financial security needed to be protected against the consequences of COVID. In very difficult times that will continue to challenge us all I am pleased to announce that we will record a small operating profit on the year and remain financially independent of the AFL. I thank every one of the 82,000 members who stuck with us this year and helped us make it through in good shape.
Second, we were required to carefully chart a parting of the ways with Nathan Buckley, our much admired and respected former captain and coach. Graham Wright had been appointed GM of Football only months earlier.
We undertook a rigorous and careful process to select Nathan’s successor and I am confident that in time we will see significant improvement in our performance because of it.
The implementation of the Do Better Report, which remains a key focus for me, required our full attention. The board, with the Expert Committee, continues to drive our progress on the recommendations from this report.
By declaring my intention now, our talented and passionate board will have time to develop a succession plan and work to ensure Collingwood remains stable, respected, financially sound and focused on our members, our staff and our teams across men’s and women’s football, netball, and wheelchair football.
By the end of next season the energy of a diverse and progressive board will be ready to take further a transformation that is already underway.
Our intention to introduce a long overdue reform of our conditions of board tenure will also be in place after consultation with members. In keeping with best governance practice, we intend to set a limit on the tenure of a director to three terms, or 9 years, and limit the maximum tenure for a president to two terms, or six years.
This modernisation of our constitution will introduce a practice in place across business and numerous AFL clubs. It will keep the board fresh and continually replenished by new ideas and energy.
As many of you know, our 2021 AGM has been brought forward to December 16.
At this meeting Peter Murphy, Christine Holgate, Bridie O’Donnell and Neil Wilson, will all be up for election.
This is to ensure that as we enter season 2022 all of the current board of seven will have been elected by members.
This validation is important. Directors are accountable to the members and their mandate comes from being elected by them.