SRi Tapped to Find New Leader for Sydney FC

June 1, 2017 – The Sydney Football Club has retained executive search firm SRi to lead the hunt for its next chief executive officer. Managing partner Jonathan Harris is spearheading the assignment. With CEO Tony Pignata leaving at the end of the season, the Sydney FC board is looking for a leader to help the organization move forward. “Our aim is to be Australia’s number one football club in everything we do,” said chairman Scott Barlow.

“The Club is poised to enter its next phase of growth and requires a CEO with the skill-set, experience, character, leadership and drive to ensure the club maximizes our huge potential,” he said. “With a strong emphasis on its fans, members and consumers, the aim is to become one of the leading sporting brands in Australia and a major player in the Asia-Pacific region.”

“SRi is delighted to be selected to lead this search,” said Mr. Harris. “We have been underway for a couple of weeks and the position has already attracted a huge amount of interest from ‘marquee talent’ both here and overseas.”

The Position

The board said it is seeking a leader with clear vision and values who can lead a positive culture of good governance. The CEO is expected to oversee implementation of all strategic and operational aspects of what is one of the biggest sporting brands in Australia. Working closely with the board of directors the CEO will be responsible for implementing the strategic direction of the club.

The ideal candidate will have a business mindset and a demonstrated ability to grow revenue in a competitive environment. The ability to spot opportunities and successfully implement innovative and sustainable initiatives is also necessary. The CEO is charged with leading engagement with fans and the general public to create an exceptional experience in all interactions involving the club.

Among the requirements for the job: proven experience as a CEO or other senior managerial position, experience in developing profitable strategies and implementing vision, familiarity with diverse business functions, in-depth knowledge of corporate governance and general management best practice, an entrepreneurial mindset with outstanding organizational and leadership skills, and excellent communication and public speaking skills.

Sports Recruiting Enters Prime Time

Over the last 25 years, sports has grown into a formidable global industry. In recent years, teams like the Dallas Cowboys, Real Madrid, and Manchester United, to name just a few, have seen their valuations soar into the billions of dollars, with no end in sight. Propelled by new digital platforms and technologies, these organizations now compete as global brands on a playing field strewn with entertainment choices galore ….. Here’s some further reading from Hunt Scanlon Media.

Sports Recruiting Finds Its Own Field of Dreams
Sports teams, from the professional level on down to college athletic programs, all now require the same professional talent base as IBM. It’s no wonder dozens of search firms grind it out for every plum assignment that surfaces somewhere every day.

Sydney FC is a foundation club of the Hyundai A League. In 12 years of competition the club has won three A-League Championships (in 2006, 2010 and 2017). The Club operates 10 teams across the A-League, W-League, Youth League and within its Junior Academy.

SRi is an international executive search firm focused on the sports, media and entertainment sectors. It has wholly owned offices in Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Singapore, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S. Clients include rights holders, professional clubs & teams, international federations, governing bodies, corporate sponsors, venues, major events, broadcasters, media owners, agencies and sporting goods brands.

An Expansive Field

The sports & entertainment field is one of the most rapidly growing sectors in executive search, with many C-suite-focused recruiting firms having been drawn to it as of late.  Some specialize only in sports, but all are dedicated to providing sports-related executive search and leadership advisory services. In addition to SRi, they include: Turnkey, Nolan Partners, CarrSports Consulting, Korn Ferry, Harvard Group International, Prodigy Sports, Marquee Search, DHR International, Hartmann Mason, College Sports Solutions, Egon Zehnder, Heidrick & Struggles, Ascension Sports Partners, Russell Reynolds Associates, Diversified Search, Odgers Berndtson, Eastman & Beaudine, Alden Associates, Parker Executive Search, Neinas Sports Services and Collegiate Sports Associates.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Chase Barbe, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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