Andrew Dillon to become AFL CEO after Gillon McLachlan retires

The AFL has announced that Andrew Dillon will be the game’s next chief executive.

The announcement was made on Monday morning after the decision was approved during a meeting of club leaders.

It has been reported in recent days that Dillon got the job after a 12-month search after Gillon McLachlan’s decision to step down from the position last year.

Dillon worked in Australian football for 20 years and joined league headquarters in 2000, where he has since been promoted to the position of Executive General Manager of Football Operations.

The league has announced that a press conference is scheduled for 10:15 AM ET where Dillon will be officially announced.

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The announcement comes as a timeline for McLachlan’s transfer has yet to be confirmed. This followed weeks of speculation, with high-profile brokers pushing for McLachlan to remain in office for an extended period of time before turning the job over to Dillon.

SEN’s Tom Morris revealed that McLachlan is expected to remain in the position until the end of the 2023 season in October.

It comes after the administration’s recent criticism of the decision to conduct an independent search for McLachlan’s replacement, with reports that a New York-based recruiting firm was paid about $1 million to conduct a global search.

Twelve months later, the league handed the job over to the man who sits next to McLachlan in the office.

Veteran AFL journalist Caroline Wilson last week criticized the league for a messy process that saw several high-profile figures in the game publicly rejected after applying for the top job.

Bulldogs president Kylie Watson-Wheeler was cited as a serious contender at one point, while it was also reported that Richmond CEO Brandon Gale was getting a lot of support to be the next AFL boss.

Wilson said the manner in which the search was carried out “damaged” Gale’s reputation.

“I have never seen such excitement and discontent among clubs for a number of reasons,” she told 9News last week.

“The dissatisfaction is mainly directed at Chairman Richard Goyder. I think it (search for a CEO) was awkward. It was unprofessional to be generous.”

Dillon joined the AFL in 2000 as a legal advisor and in July 2004 was named CEO of Legal and Commercial Affairs.

In late 2011, Dillon was named General Manager for National and International Development and General Counsel.

In 2013, he was named CEO of Legal, Integrity and Compliance, in addition to General Counsel.

In March 2017, he took on the role of the game development department, in which he was involved in community and state football leagues, football facilities and infrastructure, and in relations with all AFL government bodies.

Dillon has been acting CEO of Football Operations since July 2021 and was formally appointed to the position in addition to his other responsibilities in September of that year.

Originally published as AFL Officially Announces Andrew Dillon as League’s Next Boss