A recently-departed senior executive at Cricket Australia is favoured to be appointed the next chief executive of North Melbourne.
The Kangaroos are close to announcing their next chief executive, with Ben Amarfio – who was head of broadcasting, commercial operations and digital at Cricket Australia – likely to be appointed in what has been a surprise development.
AFL industry sources said Amarfio, who had worked at the AFL as a broadcast executive and also in a senior role at FM radio’s Austereo, is the preferred candidate, ahead of former Richmond chief executive, AFL Coaches’ Association boss and ex-North player and board member Mark Brayshaw.
Brayshaw had been viewed as a frontrunner for some time, having a strong relationship with North chairman Ben Buckley, but the board-appointed panel wanted a CEO with more commercial background than the football-experienced Brayshaw, who served alongside his brother James on the club board. He is also well-known and connected within the AFL community, with his three sons Angus, Andrew and Hamish playing at Melbourne, Fremantle and West Coast respectively.
North Melbourne’s outgoing chief executive Carl Dilena was seen as strong in the financial arena, but less focused on football operations, where many of North’s influential 1990s contingent wanted an overhaul – an outcome that has been seen with the exits of senior coach Brad Scott, football manager Cam Joyce and the imminent departure of list manager Mick McMahon. Club great Glenn Archer has presided over a series of changes, including the hiring of Rhyce Shaw and incoming football boss Brady Rawlings, to replace Joyce.
Amarfio, though, is clearly more experienced in the commercial realm than in football. A key executive under CA’s long-serving chief executive James Sutherland, he was removed in November last year after Kevin Roberts took over as Sutherland’s replacement.