Two senior AFL executives have resigned for personal reasons, effective immediately.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan made the announcement at a press conference on Friday afternoon.
“Last night, I have accepted the resignation of GM Football, Simon Lethlean and GM Commercial, Richard Simkiss,” McLachlan said.
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Speaking to the media, McLachlan revealed that the two men “had inappropriate relationships with two younger women who work in the AFL industry.”
“They were quite separate matters, but have caused distress and concern to a number of people,” he said.
“Simon and Richard have both been honest and forthright to me, and to their credit owned their mistakes and do not want the work of the AFL to be impacted by their actions.”
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AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan’s full statement:
The AFL that I want to lead is a professional organisation based on integrity, respect, care for each other and responsibility.
We are committed to a process of change, and I am confident that that change is being seen and felt across our industry.
Last night, I have accepted the resignation of GM Football, Simon Lethlean and GM Commercial, Richard Simkiss.
This has occurred following issues that have fully come to light over the past few days.
They were quite separate matters, but have caused distress and concern to a number of people.
Simon and Richard have both been honest and forthright to me, and to their credit owned their mistakes and do not want the work of the AFL to be impacted by their actions.
I expect that my Executives are role models and set a standard of behaviour for the rest of the organisation.
They are judged, as they should be, to a higher standard.
Many would ask why, but it is imperative for the way I lead and for our organisation to continue to change.
I want a diverse and inclusive culture – where employees are treated respectfully, fairly and represented at all levels. It is what we have been working so hard to achieve.
The journey we are on to a more equal and respectful workplace must be more than just words – it must be backed up with action and change.
We have come a long way.
Today, I have appointed Andrew Dillon, Legal Counsel and GM Game Development as acting GM Football. Darren Birch, our GM Growth, Digital and Audiences will be acting GM Commercial, a position he previously held.
These are both workplace and personal matters. As CEO, I am dealing with the workplace issues, and can I please ask that the people involved are allowed to deal with the personal and family matters out of the public sphere. The senior leaders in our game sign up for public scrutiny, but families and others in our business do not, and I ask for their privacy to be respected.
This has been a very difficult time, but as CEO, I had to accept the resignations.
This weekend, our 18 clubs will again take the field, and everyone who works in our industry must not forget that the game, our fans, our clubs and our people are our first and last responsibility.