Parramatta Target New CEO

Parramatta target new CEO for Eels to replace 


Parramatta’s search for a new chief executive has the potential to cause a domino effect across the NRL as the Eels eye off some of the most influential figures in the game to take charge of the resurgent club.

Parramatta officials confirmed they would advertise for a new chief executive next week, to replace Bernie Gurr at the end of the year, but it is understood there are key figures in the club who have a huge opinion of Melbourne chief executive Dave Donaghy.

Brisbane chief executive Paul White, whose contract runs out at the end of the year, could also be sounded out over his interest in moving to Sydney and taking over the running of a club widely regarded as a sleeping giant of rugby league.

Should White decide to seek greener pastures, The Australian has been told that Donaghy would be a strong contender for the role at the Broncos. White is widely regarded as one of, if not the best club boss in the NRL, having turned the Broncos into a financial juggernaut on his watch.

During his eight years in charge of Brisbane, he has presided over some of the biggest moves in the club’s history, including the decision to bring Wayne Bennett home and then the controversial call to part ways with the seven-time premiership winner at the end of last season. While he feels a great attachment to the Broncos, there is a view that it would be negligent of Parramatta not to at least ask the question of the Brisbane boss given he could be seeking a new challenge.

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White is the highest-paid club boss in the game, but the Eels would have no problem meeting any financial demands given they are backed by a powerful and affluent leagues club. Donaghy has been in charge at the Storm for four years, having been appointed as the youngest chief executive in the game when he took charge of the club.

The Storm have maintained the rage on his watch, the club leading the way on and off the field. That has turned heads in the corridors of power at Parramatta.

Gurr stepped into the breach at Parramatta when the Eels were in the midst of drama, still reeling from a salary cap scandal and suffering massive financial losses off the field.

The club lost $12 million in 2016 but that figure was reduced to around $4 million last year as Gurr set about reshaping their finances.

The club has also been on an upward curve on the field, this season in particular. After finishing with the wooden spoon last year, the Eels look bound for the finals.

“If you look at the stage of the club when Bernie came, it needed to be stabilised,” Eels chair Sean McElduff said.

“He was perfect for that role. I think what we will do is look for someone who is a little bit different. I don’t know if that person is in rugby league — I genuinely don’t know.

“If we want to get to where we want to get to, we need to grow our commercial and membership base. Whoever comes in will be someone who is very strong in the non-football side of things.

“I feel like we have stabilised the club, we have regained our reputation with all our stakeholders, we’re on track with the footy department. So the next area has to be what I call the front office.

“There will be a heavy emphasis on that because I feel like we have good footy nous in the place.”

Meanwhile, former Newcastle centre Jesse Ramien has toured Canterbury’s training base as he steps up his search for a new club. The Bulldogs are one of several clubs interested in recruiting Ramien, although they face competition from Wests Tigers, Cronulla and potentially North Queensland Cowboys.


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  • Paul White is one smart operator I'd love to have him in charge.


    • How you going Brissyeel ?

      • Loving life Fong, yourself? Just took the family to School of Rock, great show.


        • Good to hear,  family time is the most important time . I'm still a dope but I'm chugging along.  

  • If we have the chance of getting Paul White or Donaghy and end up with some random that would be extremely frustrating. Paul White could give us a strong chance of getting Fifita

  • Paul White botched the whole Bennett/Seibold fiasco quite badly.   It's not hard to look good at a powerhouse club like the Broncos.  What have they won in his time there with all their extra resources and leg ups???


    The Melbourne guy might be the bloke we should be chasing.

    • He took over the post Lockyer and Bennett years and really should’ve won 2015 so I guess he shouldn’t cop all the stuff that went wrong and the Bennett and Seibold thing people weren’t that keen on Bennett and Seibold was killing it at the rabbits so fair call imo even if it doesn’t look good now (rabbits don’t look that great post Origin either so who knows) but the sacking over voicemail is ridiculous. I think the storm guy is a great choice and it’s amazing that he’s only 32. 

      • What he does off the field is top notch, Bennett was the problem. The CEO should be managing the football club - sponsors, match days, profitability etc etc, they shouldn't have anything to do with the day to day football operations, that's for the coach and his staff. Bennett got the roster he wanted and there were some ordinary cboices like Milford, Siebold is cleaning the place out after another Bennett mess. Look what happened last year at the Eels when Gurr admitted he got involved too much in the footy side of things, a wooden spoon. White leaves that to the coach and runs everything else, in that role he's brilliant.


        • He won’t come cheap. His base salary at the Broncos last year was 600k, with a 200k bonus for meeting certain financial targets. That’s a pretty decent salary for s club CEO who don’t usually earn as much as players or head coaches. 

          • That's probably fair Brett, but what's it worth to get someone who knows the job back to front and is that good at it. I'd rather pay "overs" for White and know what you're getting I think. It might just end up cheaper for us in the long run.


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