With FFA CEO David Gallop signalling his intent to depart Oxford Street, FTBL has scanned the CEO talent pool. Could one of these be our next national governing body supremo?
The role is changing with the FFA relinquishing control of the A-League.
With this in mind, the role now is crucial as the CEO focusses her/his energies on bringing together and harnessing Australia’s most popular game at grassroots and at international level with the national teams.
At the same time, the CEO must work productively with newly appointed Technical Director Rob Sherman to bring development pathways back on track.
And to offer a fresh, positive voice in the media after such a dark year for the FFA following the botched Alen Stajcic dismissal.
Here are six strong candidates, starting with a talented Victorian.
Football and government investment in the sport. It’s been the game’s Achilles heel for too long.
Enter Peter Filopoulos.
In the last 20 months that Filopoulos has taken his game to a new level, revolutionizing Victorian football as their new CEO with a targeted and well-executed policy platform that has helped the game boost its funding to new levels.
This alone could be the single most significant factor in his elevation to the top job.
His experience leading a team that has articulated the game’s powerful narrative with local, state and federal government - leveraging the game’s huge grassroots numbers into better funding outcomes at all levels - is a huge plus point.
Imagine what he could do at the national level?
The Victorian sports administrator’s experience spans federation and club level in both football and AFL.
What’s more, at Perth Glory he led a club that required direction and focus, and after three years he built a platform for success, which was seen last season after Tony Popovic arrived and success on and off the park was achieved.
The new FFA CEO role has changed, and Filopoulos’s know-how at grassroots levels could benefit our game nationally for years to come.
In some ways, the Newcastle Jets CEO is perfect.
McKinna’s folksy grassroots appeal, long experience as a first a player, then coach in both the NSL and A-League, followed by stints in marketing and latterly as an administrator will hold him in good stead.
Crucially also, he’s proven to have a great eye for talent outside the A-League.
After all, if it wasn’t for McKinna, Socceroo captain Mile Jedinak may have remained in the NPL and never lead the national team to the last two World Cups.
This real football understanding of talent pathways and what’s required will help greatly in his work with the new Technical Director.
CEO at the Jets and and director of football and commercial manager at the Mariners, McKinna also has political experience having been Mayor of Gosford.
The Scottish-born McKinna loves the game deeply and would bring a fresh feel to a role that’s been the domain of stuffy politicians from other codes.
His press conferences may be quite entertaining, too.
Gorman was well respected by the FFA after his work at Central Coast Mariners in the early years of the A-League. This subsequently got him the role in the initial years of Western Sydney Wanderers from 2012.
He was the Red and Blacks’ inaugural CEO during those heady first few years and took to the role with vigor and passion, bringing fan favourite Shinji Ono in as a marquee.
He made it a success and has continued his career as a CEO in the NRL since leaving Wanderland.
His ability to bring people together, his ease in front of the camera and his knowledge of the game from both A-League roles - and his NRL experience - will stand him in good stead for such a role.
Well-liked, respected and experienced, he’d be an excellent choice at a time when the game needs a leader who can overseer grassroots while working closely with the new Technical Director to reinvigorate the elite player pathways into Australia’s national teams.
It could be time for this corporate star from Victorian to finally work in football.
“Pepe” Abraam was a pacy winger in the old NSL, but his real talent lay in the corporate world and he now has 25 years of top-level experience in senior corporate roles.
He made his name reinvigorating Victoria as CEO of the Victorian Major Events. From 1995, he developed the Event Planning and Operations portfolios for Melbourne's Formula 1 Grand Prix and MotoGP.
And he provided strategic advice throughout the Sydney 2000 Olympics, before spending 10 years based in Abu Dhabi as Executive Director of a large conglomerate, Royal Group.
A genuine football lover and a decent person with great connections and respect across the corporate world, he currently works for Findex as Group Executive Advisor.
Is it time for a female CEO?
If so, Moriarty would surely rank high.
Moriarty is a business owner, social investor, and author, and was named Winner Business Enterprise in the 2015 Financial Review/Westpac Australian 100 Women of Influence Awards.
Well-respected and a genuinely positive voice in the game, her elevation to FFA’s Women’s Council as Independent Chair shows her popularity.
Her love of football is well known and she’s one of the most articulate and savvy media voices having worked in the media herself.
Perhaps it may be too early for her this time with her role at the Council perhaps more important right now, but she could be a future FFA CEO.
The legal professional and sports admin has made a name for himself with the PFA, where he was appointed CEO in 2016, and FFA, where he was Legal Counsel 10 years ago.
The Harvard Business School grad worked has also been Director of Football and General Counsel at Melbourne Heart/City.
And being a former player in the early 90s, Geelong-born Didulica has plenty of skin in the game.
Last month, his stocks rose even more after becoming an Arbitrator for the International Court of Arbitration for Sport.