The Cronulla Sharks have announced former player Barry Russell as the club’s new CEO.
Russell, who won the Rothmans Medal as a 23-year-old in 1988, will start his new role in early March after former CEO Lyall Gorman left the Sharks to join Manly in November.
Russell was one of the best players to wear the black, white and blue No.7 jersey having come through Cronulla’s junior system, playing in the same Jersey Flegg side as Andrew Ettingshausen and Jonathan Docking.
“I have a deep understanding and passion for our club and its proud history,” Russell said.
“I look forward to representing our board, community, members and fans in building our great club into the best in the NRL on and off the field.”
After making his first grade debut in 1985, Russell missed the entire following season after he underwent the first of two shoulder reconstructions. He played 76 first grade games for Cronulla over six years before going on to coach the Sharks at junior representative level.
Away from rugby league, Russell is the commercial sales and business development manager of Harvey Norman Commercial, the largest franchise within the Harvey Norman Group. He has also worked with the NRL as commercial sponsorship manager.
Sharks chairman Dino Mezzatesta said Russell’s appointment had followed an extensive interview and recruitment process.
“We had many worthy and highly qualified applicants for the position however Barry’s business background, knowledge of the NRL and his commercial expertise, not to mention his enthusiasm and love of the Cronulla club, made him a standout amongst the candidates,” he said.
“We welcome him on board and look forward to him getting started. [We’re] confident he will make a significant contribution towards the continued success of our club.”
Gorman arrived at Cronulla at the end of 2014 after leaving A-League club Western Sydney Wanderers where he was the founding chairman but left the shire for a new challenge on the northern beaches after helping Cronulla break their 50-year premiership drought in 2016.