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The Brisbane Lions have appointed former Carlton and Collingwood chief executive Greg Swann as the club’s new chief executive.
Swann, who had also been linked to CEO role with the Gold Coast Suns, will be annnouced as the new Lions’ boss as soon as Friday.
Swann, who started at Collingwood in 2000 and was successful in rebuilding the Magpies, left Carlton only a matter of weeks ago, after the Blues opted to look for a new chief executive – which only this week was confirmed as long time Adelaide chief executive Steven Trigg.
Swann had also been a possibility to take up the chief executive role with Racing Victoria, but the AFL was keen for him to continue in the industry as a chief executive, and was believed keen for him to take up one of the positions in Queensland.
The Brisbane job is seen as both more challenging – given the club’s parlous finances and its difficulties onfield – than the Gold Coast job, for which chief operating officer Andrew Travis is among the leading candidates.
Swann’s experience and strong reputation within the industry appears to have won him the job over potential local candidates – with the football background and runs on the board rated higher than closer ties with Brisbane’s business community. The Lions’ chief executive role is regarded as among the most challenging in the AFL, with the club having had difficulties in retaining young talent and having been hit hard financially in recent years.
Swann worked hand in glove with Eddie McGuire and Mick Malthouse at Collingwood before crossing to Carlton when poached by the Blues’ then president Richard Pratt. He was a key figure in the signing of Chris Judd from West Coast and then the decision to replace Brett Ratten with Malthouse. Ultimately, he came under significant pressure from Carlton’s demanding club board, which wanted a change.
With Carlton having just appointed Trigg as CEO, the Crows and Suns remain in the market for new chiefs, with a number of Adelaide identities, including ex-player and board member Nigel Smart, head of football David Noble and West Coast head of football Craig Vozzo among those who have been touted as potential candidates.
The AFL was keen for Swann to remain in the game, with the league mindful of the difficulty clubs have had in identifying strong and experienced chief executives.
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