Where to now for David Gallop?
After a 10-year reign at the top of the NRL, David Gallop has stepped down as CEO. Some will be sad to see him go, others will be celebrating and happy about his departure, like Phil Gould.
The lawyer, who served as News Limited’s Legal Affairs Manager during the Super League War, has been the boss of the NRL since February 2002.
During that time he has overseen a huge amount of change in the game, numerous crises and incidents, both on and off-field, as well as the establishment of the Independent Commission.
He has largely been a stabilising influence in a time of growth and great challenges.
Where next for the Canberra-born sports administrator?
There are two sports jobs that immediately come to mind: head of the A-League and CEO of the Australian Rugby Union.
Lyall Gorman has left the FFA to head up the new Western Sydney A-League club. The FFA is currently looking for Gorman’s replacement. Gallop could be a breath of fresh air in the stagnant boardroom of football’s governing body.
But Gallop has no background in the sport, so fans might not want to see another non-football person in a position of power.
John O’Neill will leave the ARU next year when his contract expires, and there appears to be no standout candidate to replace him within rugby. Following in O’Neill’s footsteps would be hard for Gallop but the ARU will definitely need an experienced and well-credentialed CEO to take the reins.
Gallop does have a background in rugby; he played the game at Canberra Grammar where he went to school. O’Neill has been a success in both football and rugby, and that cross-code success could pave the way for Gallop to take a role in either sport.
There is also the vacant CEO job of Basketball Australia, after Larry Sengstock resigned in April. Gallop could form a formidable team at the top of the hoops tree along with former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally, who is BA’s chairman.
Wherever he moves next, I’m betting that Gallop won’t be lost to the world of Australian sports administration.
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