Three new Directors will join the Board of the Western Bulldogs over the next few months.
Club President Peter Gordon also announced plans to conduct a broader Governance review to prepare the Club for the next phase of its growth agenda.
Former CEO and player Simon Garlick, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Branch Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick and Culture is Life CEO Belinda Duarte will join the Board immediately – Belinda initially to serve as an observer with the intention that she be appointed as Director at the next Annual General Meeting.
The appointments of Fitzpatrick and Duarte will bring the number of women on the Board to five, and the Club expects that as from the 2019 AGM in December, the Board will comprise an equal number of men and women as non-executive directors – a first in the Club’s history.
“We’re delighted to welcome Simon, Lisa and Belinda to the Board who will each add tremendous value and insight based on their vast years of experience across a number of important strategic focus areas,” Gordon said.
The Bulldogs President also announced an external Governance review to be conducted by Victoria University Chancellor George Pappas and Western Bulldogs Community Foundation Chair Gaye Hamilton, which will consider both current Board structure and performance and future Board needs. Pappas and Hamilton both have extensive corporate and community experience, and both have previously served as long-standing directors of the Club.
“I believe the quality of our Board over the past seven years has been an area of competitive advantage for the Club,” Gordon said.
“In this period we have won Premierships, led the way in women’s football, played a leading role in the establishment of modern competitive balance principles, continued being at the forefront of the provision of community services, eradicated debt, and enjoyed continuous business growth.
However, the AFL environment is constantly changing and the challenges of the next decade will be very different to the last. Our board functions well and we want to ensure it continues to adapt and improve.”
Gaye Hamilton previously led the sub-committee which resolved to approach Peter Gordon to take over the Presidency of the Club upon David Smorgon’s retirement as President in November 2012.
Gordon, who was appointed President for a three-year term at the end of 2018, said the review is intended to ensure the Club maintains competitive acumen while planning for the future.
“The construct of the Board should reflect the right governance model considering that the Club now operates four teams, has a secondary home presence in Ballarat, is committed to a major Whitten Oval redevelopment, is intent on an exit from the gaming industry and operates an ever-broadening suite of community services through its Community Foundation,” Gordon said.
“I have also stated that this current term will be my last as President and the review will ensure the matter of succession planning is dealt with appropriately.”
Belinda was born and raised in Ballarat, is a proud First Nations woman (a descendant of the Wotjobaluk and Dja Dja Wurrung people), and was the inaugural director of Richmond Football Club’s Korin Gamadji Institute. Belinda was named AFL Woman of the Year in 2012, and has been a leader in social change. Her current roles include Board member of the MCG Trust, Deputy Chair of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Co-Chair of Reconciliation Victoria and Committee Member of Churchill Fellowship Regional Committee. Belinda will provide guidance to the Club in a wide range of areas, but with a particular focus on community engagement and our commitment to reconciliation, Ballarat community development and ensuring healthy and inclusive communities.
Simon was the Bulldogs’ Chief Executive from 2010-15, playing a key role in building the foundation for the Club’s ultimate success in 2016. Simon has since been CEO of leading sponsorship, experiential and communications agency, Bastion EBA. He previously served as football director for the Club from 2007-10 and also served as a Director of the AFL Players Association during his playing career that spanned 181 AFL games over 11 seasons with the Bulldogs and the Sydney Swans. Simon will partner with Matthew Croft as the Board’s joint football directors.
Lisa has been Secretary at the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation since 2001, and until recently has been a Trustee Director of First State Superannuation Fund. Lisa was President of the Victorian Trades Hall Council from 2014-16 and an executive member of the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Victorian Trades Hall Council. In all of those roles, she has had responsibility for high level negotiations including with Government. Lisa is the sister of Adrian Fitzpatrick who served the Club for seven years as finance director after the 1989 fightback, and who still serves as finance director on the Club’s Community Foundation.