Melbourne Victory have hired Ian Robson to replace Richard Wilson as CEO. Most recently the CEO at AFL club Essendon Bombers, Robson resigned in May amid a supplements scandal that has engulfed that club since February. In a press release, the Victory describe Robson as a 'leading sports administrator.'
Victory chairman Anthony Di Pietro introduced Robson, who is currently out of the country on holiday:
"Ian has global experience in sports administration roles across two codes. Most recently Essendon Football Club, but also the Hawthorn Football Club, Auckland Warriors, SuperLeague and SportsScotland in the UK. Ian brings a great enthusiasm for the role of sport in the community, as well as experience at the CEO level in elite sport, and will be a valuable asset to the club as we look to build on the solid foundations laid of the past 18 months.
We have been through a thorough process, engaging with a number of parties, giving us complete confidence that Ian is both suitable and extremely well qualified for the role."
Robson's resignation was accepted at Essendon after the illegal supplements program was uncovered under his watch, but was apparently unknown to the club's chief executive. His resignation came from the acknowledgment that he was ignorant to the program at the club, not that he was necessarily involved in its implementation.
Less than two months later, Robson accepted the Victory's offer to take over a similar role with the A-League club, though presumably without the underlying suspicious activity. Wilson's departure, announced in early June, marks a major shift for the club as his tenure lasted two-and-a-half years and included the introduction of an in-market rival, the recruitment of Harry Kewell and a large increase in overall soccer interest in Victoria and Australia.
Robson will be called upon to, at the very least, maintain Victory's position as the biggest club in Melbourne and foster business and community relationships that will build the brand of the club and the sport. How much his recent involvement in the Essendon scandal will hamper those efforts is the question that poses the biggest risk for the Victory, especially in the short-term.