Greg O’Rourke, incoming head of the Hyundai A-League, hopes to use his corporate experience to drive commercial growth and financial strength across all clubs in the competition.
O’Rourke was announced as the Head of the Hyundai A-League on Thursday in Sydney, taking over the role from Damien De Bohun.
O’Rourke pointed to Pepsico, the 1500-staff manufacturing business that he's been working for in recent years, as an indicator of his commercial savvy.
The business, he said, remains profitable in an environment where many other comparable businesses are doing it tough.
“There are a lot of similarities between the corporate world and the football world,” O’Rourke said.
“The only way to compete with large customers such as Coles, Woolworths, ALDI and IGA is exactly the same with A-League club owners.
“Unless we unlock through the club owners into the fans - which is exactly what happens in the supermarket business into the consumers.
“You can’t be successful in terms of hitting the consumer in the supermarket business unless you unlock and build relationships and online strategies with your customers.
“It’s exactly the same as see in the A-League and W-League. If I can work to align the customers, build the relationships with club owners then I believe we can unlock the fans behind them.”
FFA CEO David Gallop, who was on hand to present his new A-League boss to the media at FFA HQ on Thursday morning, stressed the national governing body were looking at a sharper focus on the commercial side.
“We need to drive revenue in the game. The A-League is the engine room of the game [overall],” said Gallop.
“So someone with extensive corporate experience like Greg, who understands the numbers, but the stakeholder management and operations of the league is the reason why we chose him.”
O’Rourke’s 20 years’ experience in the senior corporate world in finance, operations, logistics and strategic planning is hoped will play a positive part in the continued growth of a league that kicked off in August 2005.
O’Rourke added the conversation about expansion of the league is one that will take place over time.
“An expansion of the number of teams is inevitable and the right thing to do. But that’s the second step.
“The first step is to actually make sure that the ten teams we currently have are sustainable.
“There’s no use bringing in new teams if some existing teams are a shaky. So part of my financial transformational background is to make sure the ten teams we have a really solid.
“And then, how exciting is it going to be when we start the conversation about taking it from more than ten teams.
“Once you do that you capture new geographies, new revenues, and opportunities – but the first step is to make sure the initial ten clubs can get the job done first.”