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Cameron Schwab resigns as CEO

Matt Burgan  April 9, 2013 4:48 PM

Cameron Schwab and Don McLardy

CAMERON Schwab has tendered his resignation as chief executive of the Melbourne Football Club.

President Don McLardy and Schwab met on Tuesday morning to make the decision, before they fronted a media conference at the MCG late afternoon. Vice-president Peter Spargo will act as interim chief executive officer.

“Don put it to me that he felt that it was in the best interests of the Melbourne Football Club to resign as chief executive of the club,” Schwab said. 

“Following our discussions, I have tendered my resignation of the club.

“In the context of this particular decision and where the club sits at this time, I recognise and understand that when you take the role of chief executive … you’re required to make decisions on the lives of other people – whether they be players or whether they be staff members.

“As having the role as chief executive, you also recognise that from time to time, decisions are going to be made in regard to yourself and this is one such moment.”

McLardy said it was a “hard day for our footy club”.

“[It’s been] another one,” he said.

“We had to make a decision and we had a very mature and sensible discussion with Cameron about what was in the best interests of the Melbourne Football Club going forward.

“I’ve spoken to many, many people over the past months and last couple of days and it was a difficult discussion with Cameron, but I just wanted to pay tribute to his mature and honest way of handling what was a very tough discussion.”

A pragmatic Schwab said he was still “up for the fight” although he agreed with McLardy that it was time to step down. Schwab will “play a role” in handing over responsibilities.

“I wasn’t going to back away at all from where the club sits at the moment. I’ve got plenty of belief in what we stand for as a club and what we’ll continue to stand for as a club in the future,” he said.

“But if you’re in a situation where you’re having to fight the battles that we are fighting – we have to make sure that we’re all in it together from that perspective.

“Don was very honest with me in regards to what he felt was in the best interests of the club – it’s such a critical relationship, the president/CEO relationship and I respect and recognise Don’s honesty in the way he spoke to me and discussed the issue with me.

“I knew straight away that if there wasn’t the basis by where we could actually fight together – in regard to that – well, it was time for me to make the choice that I have made.

“I’m prepared for that and I’m ready for whatever life’s next challenge is. I love the game. It may be in the game. It mightn’t be in the game and I’m up for whatever the next thing actually is.”

Schwab said the losses had been difficult for all, but he was adamant the club would bounce back.

“Don’t worry about that. This club is a much better and much stronger club than it’s representing itself as at this time,” he said.

“When the club has its day – and it will – there will be a lot of people who will be really proud of what the club’s achieved and I’ll certainly be one of them.”

McLardy said it had been “an unbelievable two or three years” for the club. He said Schwab had overseen the club make a profit for the past four years.

“However, we ultimately get judged as you’re all aware on what happens out on the football field and that’s another key component,” McLardy said.

“We had to look clinically at what that meant and where we are now.

“We’ve come to this decision that we’ve made.” 

McLardy said Schwab had been unfairly maligned in the media.

“He’s coped with that and he’s come through that, so there is a strength of character there that I think we need to acknowledge,” he said.

“I’m sure we’ll see Cameron again in the future.”

Schwab, who originally started with the club as a 17-year-old in 1981, became chief executive for the second time and in his most recent stint in 2008.