Australia: Infighting over Joseph Suaalii deal led to CEO’s departure – report

·3-min read
 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Andy Marinos’ disagreement with Hamish McLennan over the mega-money deal for Joseph Suaalii resulted in the chief executive stepping down, according to reports in Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald have alleged that the two were at loggerheads due to the sheer size of the contract, with Suaalii signing a huge $1.6m deal.

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Rugby Australia were left reeling on Monday after Marinos announced his sudden resignation just a few months out from the Rugby World Cup.

He had only been in the job just over two years after being appointed in December 2020.

Rugby league obsession

According to the Herald, McLennan insisted on chasing the brightest talents in rugby league, a position Marinos did not agree with.

The former CEO was particularly unhappy as the Suaalii saga was played out so publicly, ending in the teenager signing a massive contract.

Marinos’ belief was that it would inflate the market and would result in other current players demanding much more money.

McLennan, who wasn’t averse to having a spat with some of the 13-man code’s bigwigs, did not like his compatriot taking a backseat over the matter.

The chairman was certainly more in the public eye, something former Wallabies Stephen Hoiles and Morgan Turinui discussed on Stan Sport show Between Two Posts.

Hoiles said: “Doesn’t Hamish sort of act like a CEO at the moment anyway?

“Andy (Marinos) was not really in the public eye the last few months, and Hamish is very much in the public eye, isn’t that kind of what a CEO does?

Turinui added: “It’s like an executive chairman, the (John) O’Neill days was almost like a combination (of chairman and chief executive).

“I actually think that Andy was a quite a good foil for Hamish, as you mentioned, Hamish has that role out there, and Andy seemed to be the relationship guy in the background.

“Now, what Hamish wants to do hands-on wise, I think will predicate what you want from a CEO.

“Is it genuinely like a COO, operational, hands-on, running the exco in at RA, and you let Hamish blaze away as he does?

“It’ll be interesting to see who the candidates are. Rugby Australia don’t have a classic chief operating officer that you would think about bringing up.”

Phil Waugh in the frame

The great Australian flanker Phil Waugh is a leading candidate to replace Marinos, according to reports, and Hoiles believes that it would be a “great time” to come into the role.

“You’ve got a bullish chairman who’s out there, and he’s in market and doing some good things,” he said.

“You’ve got a proven head (Wallabies) coach (Jones). So you’re going to want someone that’s capable of managing some big personalities.”

READ MORE: Shock as Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos resigns months before the Rugby World Cup

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