With Eddie McGuire on his way out, Collingwood will shift attention to searching for his successor, with several well-known names in contention. The 56-year-old told a club members’ forum on Monday night he will step down at the end of 2021, ending a 23-year reign at the Magpies.
McGuire was only re-elected for a three-year term in February this year, but the timing of his decision allows ample time to cast the net wide to identify the best candidate.
One contender could be long-time vice president Mark Korda, a founder of the insolvency firm KordaMentha. He is regarded as the most likely among existing Collingwood board members to make a tilt for the role.
It is understood he has previously shied away from putting his hat in the ring out of loyalty towards McGuire and because the presidency role requires a significant amount of time.
However, Korda may be able to delegate more of his responsibilities at KordaMentha to make time for the presidency. It is understood he has yet to make a decision about whether to run for the job.
Others mentioned in the mix include 1990 Collingwood premiership player and now prominent player agent and TLA chief executive Craig Kelly, and businessman John Wylie, who last month finished his eight-year stint as chairman of Sport Australia.
Also reportedly in the frame is former Magpies player turned property developer Paul Tuddenham, former Victorian premier John Brumby, president of Warner Music Australasia Dan Rosen and Collingwood’s first female director Sally Capp, who appears an unlikely pick after having recently been re-elected as Melbourne mayor.
Key to the role will be strong leadership to carry forward a club that has, since 1998, been overseen by one polarising man. The successful candidate will also be tasked with solving ongoing salary cap issues and overhauling the Magpies’ culture, which has been under a cloud since Héritier Lumumba’s claims of a culture of racist jokes at the club.
Collingwood’s official investigation into their former player’s allegation, undertaken by Professor Larissa Behrendt, is understood to be near a conclusion. The findings of the report will be made public in due course.
McGuire on Monday said his 13-month notice period was to avoid giving a “hospital handball” to his successor, adding that he wanted to make the process a “Barack Obama-style transition rather than a Donald Trump experience”.
Former Magpies director David Galbally, who last month said the club’s administration had “lost the plot” following a troublesome trade period, said McGuire had made the right decision and “realised there needs to be a change”.
“We can’t have a situation where someone remains as president for an inordinate length of time,” Galbally said.
“I think it’s important that there is a chain of individuals that can take over the club and help it develop over a period of time, otherwise we get to a situation where we have for too long the one person in control and we don’t really develop any new ideas because of that.”