Cronulla CEO Lyall Gorman will leave the Sharks 12 months after helping end the club’s 50-year premiership drought.
The club announced in a statement on Monday Gorman had advised the Sharks’ board he was moving on, with reports linking him with the vacant CEO job at Manly.
Gorman arrived at Cronulla at the end of 2014 after leaving A-League club Western Sydney Wanderers where he was the founding chairman.
He was also the founding chief executive of the Central Coast Mariners before taking the reins as head of the A-League. Gorman left that role when Football Federation Australia asked him to build a new A-League side in western Sydney.
Sharks captain Paul Gallen told the Leader while he believed the building blocks were in place off the field for continued success at the club, it was up to the players to ensure Cronulla remained a force on the field.
“I went and saw him just then, gave him a handshake and thanked him,” Gallen said.
“It’s an interesting one. I’m not across the business side of it. That’s not my job. But as a person Lyall and I always had a good respect for each other.
“For me he was a real boss. I’ve recalled a couple of times he’s rung me up and absolutely given it to me for some things. But you see him the next day and he’s moved on and you’re back to two men having a conversation again. Which I really like, he doesn’t hold a grudge.
“It’s just life, that’s the game of rugby league. People come and go but the club will still go on. CEOs, coaches, players, me one day. We’ll all be gone but the club survives.
“I think the building blocks are there but it’s up to the people still here to maintain them. They can very easily slip. You look at the Bulldogs this year who have always had a great culture and stability. It’s up to the players on the field because so much of it comes down to the playing group to remain successful.”
It was a turbulent time when Gorman arrived at Cronulla as the club continued to deal with the fall out from the ASADA doping investigation. Coach Shane Flanagan, who was in the room for the announcement of Gorman's appointment, stormed out of a media conference that day after being questioned about the ASADA scandal. Flanagan had missed the 2014 season after incurring a 12-month suspension. The club also had no major sponsor.
But within two seasons, Gorman had helped turn the Sharks around on and off the field, culminating in their 2016 grand final victory over Melbourne.
Sharks chairman Dino Mezzatesta said in a statement the club wished Gorman well for the future and thanked him for his three years of service.
“As Lyall said upon arrival at the Sharks and as was also included in his departure announcement to staff, ‘if you think that our future is all about me we are in deep trouble but together we can and will create something very special,’ he said.
“Lyall played a big part in our premiership success of 2016 and leaves the Sharks in an extremely healthy position both on and off the field and we are confident we can build on the work he has done and make our club even bigger, better and more successful going forward.”
The club said Gorman had “fully committed” to the chairman, board of directors and senior management his ongoing support as the club transitioned into a new business model over the coming weeks and months.
The club’s chief financial officer, Paul Eriksson, will assume the role of interim CEO.