Chalk it up to the experiment that failed department, as the Hawthorn Hawks have sacked Tracey Gaudry just five months after making her the first woman CEO of an AFL Club.
While it is impossible to say that Gaudry was responsible for the Hawks’ flameout in the Toyota 2017 AFL Premiership competition, it is always easier to get rid of executives than to get rid of players.
She came in after the Hawks’ failure in 2016 to secure a fourth consecutive flag, so there was another instance of cutting off the head of the snake to kill the tail.
It appears to be a case of the wrong place at the wrong time, as much as anything else. Gaudry came into the job without any previous footy experience, which no doubt made the Hawks’ executive suite a hostile environment, as many of the tenured execs would have, rightfully perhaps, thought the CEO position theirs for the taking, after years of grooming.
Gaudry may simply been beyond her depth, but she did have executive experience as an official for Athletics Australia and the governing body of world cycling. She was a surprise appointment to replace Stuart Fox May past.
One thing is certain; she walked into a situation that was not exactly conducive to success. The departures of Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis left some voids in the Hawthorn list, voids which went, it would seem, unfilled, as the Hawks finished 12th on the ladder in 2017. Coach Alastair Clark seems untouchable, so the blame for the Hawks’ ineptitude had to find a different roost.
Club board member Peter Nankivell will assume the role as the interim CEO. Hopefully, Nankivell or his successor can last long enough to see the club move into its new Taj Mahal headquarters at Dingley, but, as that move is expected to be a protracted one, lasting for multiple years, meaning that personnel will likely see at least one, if not several, further upheavals.