BRISBANE Broncos Limited (BBL) CEO Bruno Cullen (pictured) will retire at the end of the year, as the company looks for a replacement who understands ‘footy culture’.
Cullen held a press conference at the team’s training ground in Red Hill today, where he said it was time for new blood.
“After eight years here I’ve really enjoyed it, I honestly do believe it’s time for me to move on - I personally feel like I need to get out of the fast lane so to speak,” he says.
“I think it’s an ideal opportunity for me to make way for someone that’s maybe a bit younger, more energetic and a bit more enthusiastic about the next five years. There’s absolutely no pressure - I was offered an extension of one, two or three years.”
Cullen will finish up on December 31 and take three months off before returning as a director on the board, supported by majority shareholder News Limited.
The Broncos have enlisted Davidson Recruitment to create a shortlist of potential replacements that will be presented to the board in a few months time.
“A mad footy head is not necessarily the right person but someone that doesn’t understand footy, rugby league, sport and the culture that goes with all that is the wrong person as well, so it’s a real balancing act,” says Cullen.
“(A) corporate brain, financial background as well as understanding and perhaps the experience of the sporting code, I guess rugby league, is the ideal balance.”
Cullen will resign from the post at a time when the club is in a strong financial position and is the ‘most popular sporting brand in the country’.
“It’s performed well over the last five or six years particular, it’s still performing well, it’s got an extremely powerful brand – when I leave next year sponsorship levels will be again at record levels,” he says.
“It’s hard to be successful both on and off the field for long extended periods of time and that’s why I think it’s important that there is a rollover of personnel.”
Cullen concedes that the culture of the game has changed due to political correctness, which means players can’t be the sort of characters that Allan Langer and Kevin Walters were.
“You’re not allowed to be character, it’s as simple as that. We can be in a different way I suppose – you know, it’s just we are so structured I suppose with what’s expected and what’s not, what’s politically correct and what’s not politically correct,” he says.
“What’s accepted by half the community might not be accepted by the other half so to be a character and have a bit of fun, generally at other people’s expense - that’s the Aussie way I think - there’s nothing wrong with that either, but if you do then you get into trouble so you don’t.”
BBL shares remained flat today at $0.33.