Gold Coast Titans CEO Graham Annesley is set to leave the club at the end of this season after accepting a new role with the NRL.
Annesley will take on the position of NRL Head of Elite Football Programs which will see him oversee all operational aspects of the Telstra Premiership and other elite programs.
Over the last five years Annesley has been instrumental in steering the club out of a tumultuous period which saw the NRL step in to save the club in 2015 before transferring back to private ownership under the Kelly and Frizelle families.
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Annesley admits he is sad to be leaving the Gold Coast but says the club is in great shape.
“The last five years have been some of the most challenging, yet satisfying times of my professional career,” Annesley said.
“While the challenges have been well documented, I take a great deal of pride in the current health of the club both on and off the field.”
Titans Executive Chairman Dennis Watt has thanked Annesley for his contribution and says he leaves a great legacy.
“Having seen the club through some very difficult times when the survival of the club was in serious doubt to a point where we now have a very bright future with some real financial strengths and some great people on board,” Watt said.
“He’s got that rare brand of courage that’s so important in public life, Graham’s a man who is always about being accountable, being out there to handle the crises.
“It’s never been about Graham, it’s always been about the club and about the good of the game and he’ll do a wonderful job heading back to the NRL.”
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg says Annesley is the ideal person to take on the new role of running elite football programs.
“It has become clear this year that the Head of Football role needs to be split into two areas – elite and participation programs,” Greenberg said.
“Graham will take on all aspects of the elite competition from running the Premiership to overseeing match officials and rule changes.”
Annesley will remain as Titans CEO until the end of October and is due to take up his new position at the NRL on November 1.
He says he will miss the club enormously.
“I want to thank everyone associated with the Titans for the amazing opportunity and privilege afforded to me during my time as CEO,” Annesley said.
Watt say the club is yet to begin the search for a new CEO and for now they are just absorbing the news.