Campbell informed the Essendon board in recent days that he wanted to remain in his position as CEO of the Bombers after approaches to join the AFL. The club would not comment on the length of his tenure at the club or the improved terms, but said it was a long-term decision.
The decision not to pursue the AFL approach was made amicably between Campbell and the AFL, while Essendon had been aware of the approach and were comfortable with how it was handled.
“I am genuinely excited and passionate about the plan and people we have,” Campbell said at the club’s AGM.
The AFL has created a new role as CEO of Marvel Stadium after the league finally assumed ownership of the venue, then altered the management structure to bring the position of running it into the AFL executive structure.
“There’s been speculation that’s been around for a while [about Campbell] and we had been talking with him about the future in recent times and he has re-committed to stay at Essendon. He has unfinished business at Essendon,” Tanner told The Age.
The decision means Essendon have clarity around their chief executive position next year in a season of change in which John Worsfold will be senior coach in a transition phase to Ben Rutten.
“In running a football club everything is connected to everything else. You want to make sure you have stability and consistency but you also have to change. I am proud of the succession with the coaching position, it is not easy to change, but I am confident it will work very well.”
Tanner will remain on the Essendon board but with extra commitments to other boards and organisations, he doesn’t have the time to commit to be president.
“I am giving the members the courtesy of advising that by the next AGM I will have stepped down,” Tanner said.
“Next year will be my fifth as president and the big challenges that the club faced, which were central to me being put in the position, have now been conquered. We have several people on the board who would be very good replacements.
“I believe one of my existing fellow board members will assume the role.”
Meanwhile the club also inducted its two most recent past presidents – Paul Little and David Evans – as life members. The two men were in charge during the most torrid period in the club’s history, through the supplements saga.
Chris and Julie Allen were also made life members.
Michael Gleeson is an award-winning senior sports writer specialising in AFL and athletics.