Home Roland Rocchiccioli Hawthorn FC appoints a CEO with no footy experience and then sacks...

Hawthorn FC appoints a CEO with no footy experience and then sacks her


Channel Ten newsreader, Stephen Quartermain, commented on his Twitter account: ‘So the @ Hawthorn FC appoints a CEO with no footy experience and then sacks her. The buck stops with the president and the board.’

Stephen is absolutely correct.

Having spent ten-years with the AFL Footy Show, and, by default on the very extreme periphery of the game, I am of the opinion, from my considered and astute observations, that football is strictly masculine. I do not care what anyone thinks, and I am not looking to be convinced otherwise. Nothing will bring me to change my mind – ever! Not even political correctness. My conclusion is drawn from my direct experience.

Before the feminists starting frothing at the mouth, jumping up-and-down, and baying for my blood, I put it to you: If I were looking to appoint a CEO for a theatre company, I would be seeking someone – male or female who had experience in the specific area; a track record which would inspire me to appointment them to role. Obviously, it would be someone who understands, intimately, the degree of difficulty; someone who is sympathetic to the nuance of running such a company; and, imperatively,above all else, possessed of a deep and abiding knowledge of the temperament and psyche of the employees; someone capable of providing the contracted players with an environment in which they are able to excel; to feel safe and secure; and to believe they are a valued and loved member of the group. You need to understand, the players are not interested in you, or your problems. They are – for the most part – self-centred, megalomaniacs, interested only in pursuit of excellence, and what it means to them. They play as a team but it is every person for themselves – for obvious reason. It is why we love them, and pay money to watch them. They are not like of rest. They have a talent which sets them apart. Like actors, footballers – elite athletes – are capable of being difficult. They are a bunch of prima donnas. It comes with territory. When you demand that people be perfect every time they perform, you are juggling a grenade on which the pullpin is hanging by a thread. The workplace pressure is enormous. For those of who have never experienced the fear that comes with public performance, it is impossible to articulate. That single,last moment before you are forced to step-out and face the audience – be it on the stage or a sporting arena –is outside of description. It wracks your body and leaves you doubting your very existence. Unreasonable though it sometimes may be, it is incumbent on the CEO to be all things to all men, and women, under the circumstances. The players are not interested in what you think. They want for you to solve their problems; to make it possible for them to do their allotted job without let or hindrance; to indulge their idiosyncratic behaviour; be allowed to shine; to thrill their fans; and to show-off their skills and versatility. In the case of the entertainment industry, holding sway over a remote control, however expensive your wall-mounted, HD television screen, does not mean you are in showbusiness; and the now obsolete practice of after-the-game kick-to-kick on the MCG, does not make you a sporting champion; nor does it indicate you know anything at all about running a theatrical company, or an AFL club. It means you an enthusiastic amateur – and thank God for you! Without your support there would be no theatre, and no football. I have never subscribed to the theory that you need to be a murderer to play Jack the Ripper; however, you do need to have some understanding of the criminal mind. Certainly, you need technique to get your through the performance, and to take the audience on the journey. Hawthorn FC has parted-ways with chief executive, Tracey Gaudry, just five-months after she was appointed to the position. There are official, and unofficial, reasons. They matter little; however, one could be forgiven for wondering if the Hawthorn President and the board, however well-intentioned, were hasty in their selection. There is no denying: Ms. Gaudry was a fine cyclist, and since her retirement has successfully held responsible executive positions with a number of leading companies; however, that does not automatically prepare you for a leading role in an overwhelmingly masculine environment. There is embarrassment in a public departure, and one can only hope that Ms. Gaudry’s proven administrative talents will not be lost to the greater business community as a consequence.


I have spent the best part of the week in bed, fightingoff a cold. A special thank you to the woman in the supermarket who was wheezing and sneezing her way up-and-down the aisles. Every time I turned around she was at my elbow coughing all over me.

If you have a cold, please, stay at home! Do us all a favour. The flu epidemic does not need the support of thoughtless, selfish carriers, passing on their dastardly germs to the unsuspecting. Soldiering-on is the last thing you should be doing. You should be in bed keeping warm, with hot drinks and healthy sustenance. Talk to your Doctor.

Roland can be heard each MONDAY morning on 3BA at 10.30.

Contact: rolandroc@bigpond.com