Brian Cook, the AFL’s most successful and longest serving club chief, is being headhunted by the strife-torn Carlton Football Club.
The Blues’ new president Luke Sayers contacted the outgoing Geelong chief executive earlier this month with a view to luring Cook into a senior leadership position as the club sets about rebuilding its depleted football operation.
Although no formal offer has been put forward Carlton have earmarked Cook for a full-time position and most likely the top job at the club, which last week sacked coach David Teague and two of his assistants and replaced four board members.
Sayers said on Friday he could not guarantee the position of current chief executive Cain Liddle. When contacted by The Age on Monday and asked whether he had approached Cook, Sayers responded: “no comment”.
Cook, who has knocked back offers from a number of clubs in recent years, notably the Gold Coast and North Melbourne, has been the subject of interest at a number of clubs since announcing he would step down as Geelong boss at the end of the season.
While there is no suggestion either Mark Korda or his Collingwood presidential rival Jeff Browne is looking to replace Magpies CEO Mark Anderson, at least one of the two camps has some interest in retaining Cook in a shorter-term consultancy role.
The Cats hope to retain Cook at Kardinia Park as that club works towards the next development stage of GMHBA Stadium. Club president Craig Drummond said Cook had been offered an ongoing “paid role and active role within the club”. The 65-year-old is expected to spend several weeks at the club after Geelong’s finals campaign comes to an end in a handover with incoming boss Steve Hocking.
Cook, who did not respond to calls from The Age, is in Perth in quarantine with the Cats in his last weeks as the Geelong CEO after 23 years in that role. During the Cook era the club was rebuilt into an AFL success story on and off the field, winning three premierships and missing finals on only six occasions.