Steve Hocking to go back to the Cats as CEO
FORMER Geelong footballer Steve Hocking has left a high-profile job with the AFL to return to the Cats as the club’s next chief executive officer.
Mr Hocking announced on Monday this week he would take over the role from outgoing CEO Brian Cook at the end of the 2021 season.
He is a highly regarded AFL administrator and leader with more than 30 years’ experience in the AFL industry.
He began his career at the Cats as a player in 1984 and went on to play 199 games, retiring after the 1994 AFL grand final.
Mr Hocking returned to the club as chairman of selectors in 2004 and quickly assumed the role of assistant general manager of football operations.
In 2014, Mr Hocking was appointed as the club’s general manager of commercial, and then general manager of football in 2015.
Mr Hocking was appointed general manager of football operations at the AFL in 2017.
In this key role, he has led the operations of the AFL and AFLW competition, the Laws of the Game, Match Review Panel and Tribunal systems, umpiring at the elite level, key talent pathways and elite coaching development programs.
“Steve Hocking’s deep football and commercial experience is the perfect combination for our next CEO,” Geelong Football Club president Craig Drummond said.
“I am confident that Steve’s values-based leadership, discipline and focus will continue to drive a culture of high performance and success for the club.
“As a strong advocate for the AFL industry, Steve has driven higher standards across all elements of football, including the quality of the game, diversity, and the mental health of all industry participants. We are delighted to welcome Steve back to the club.”
Mr Hocking said he may not have had the opportunity to become a CEO again if he had missed this one.
“They don’t come up very often, particularly the Geelong one,” Mr Hocking said of his new role.
“I’ve clearly got a long-term relationship with (Geelong) as well – I started there as a 17-year-old back in 1983 and there’s a lot of history there for me.
“I’ve been fortunate to be in this (AFL) role, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and I think the time is right to take this role up.”
Mr Drummond paid tribute to Mr Cook, who has been chief executive officer at the Cats for 23 years and has presided over one of the most successful on field periods in the club’s history.
“Under his leadership, Brian has transformed the Geelong Football Club. On behalf of the board, the staff, our members, sponsors, and key stakeholders, thank you Brian for your leadership, service and legacy to our club,” he said.
“I also am delighted to confirm that Brian has agreed to continue his great service to the club in an advisory role from 2022.
“The club will formally recognise and celebrate Brian’s contributions as CEO later this year.”