A Humble Beginning: Andrew Dillon Assumes AFL CEO Role
On October 2, 2023, Andrew Dillon will officially step into the position of AFL’s new CEO, bringing an end to a 538-day handover period from predecessor Gillon McLachlan.
The Complex Journey to Discover AFL’s Next Chief
The search for AFL’s new CEO has been a taxing and convoluted process, with many unexpected turns.
However, Monday’s announcement definitively marks the end of McLachlan’s term, which initially commenced on June 5, 2014.
A Timeline of the AFL CEO Handover Process
The handover journey began with Gillon McLachlan announcing his intention to step down as AFL CEO at the end of the 2022 season on April 12, 2022.
In the same month, New York-based consultancy firm Spencer Stuart started the search for McLachlan’s successor, providing a list of candidates to the AFL Commission led by Richard Goyder.
The AFL decided not to advertise the role publicly.
Key Milestones During the Search Period
In September 2022, the AFL confirmed a seven-year extension to its broadcast deal, amounting to $4.5 billion.
The updated agreement increased the per-season worth to $643 million, up from the $473 million per season deal renegotiated during the Covid pandemic and initially set to expire in 2024.
Later in the same month, McLachlan announced an investigation into historic allegations against former Hawthorn officials Alastair Clarkson, Chris Fagan, and Jason Burt, with a four-person independent panel leading the process.
Nearing the End of the Transition
In October 2022, the terms of reference for the independent investigation into Hawthorn were established, with a projected end date of December 22, 2022.
A month later, while announcing the inaugural edition of ‘Gather Round’ in Adelaide, McLachlan confirmed his departure but admitted that the specific date remained unclear.
He expressed that it would not be “late next year” but “over the coming months.”
McLachlan’s departure was delayed the following month until at least after Gather Round in April 2023.
By March 2023, the AFL’s search had narrowed down to three candidates: Andrew Dillon, Travis Auld, and Brendon Gale, with interviews planned for mid-March.
Finally, in April 2023, reports emerged that Andrew Dillon had been chosen as the next AFL CEO, and the AFL confirmed his appointment as AFL CEO-elect on May 1, 2023.
Dillon is set to officially take over on October 2.