FROM POLITICIAN TO TITAN OF BUSINESS
Written on the 16 May 2014
GRAHAM Annesley has spent most his working life scaling the corporate ladder, holding executive positions in both the public and private sector.
His career includes senior roles with NSW TAB, DHL, Worldwide Express and McWilliams Wines and he was chief operating officer with the National Rugby League for almost a decade before becoming NSW Minister for Sport in 2011.
In September 2013 he resigned and took on the challenge as CEO of the iSelect Gold Coast Titans.Gold Coast Business News spoke to Annesley and asked how he was tackling the challenge of creating a sustainable business model at one of the most dynamic NRL franchises in the country.
The Titans have had a rocky financial few years: what’s being done to ensure future prosperity and long term sponsor support for the team?It is a very simple business model and the formula is no different to running most other businesses. We have to focus all of our energy on growing revenue while at the same time keeping downward pressure on costs. We must have a sustainable business model regardless of what happens on the field. The only reason for our existence as a business is to put a football team on the field, so it is imperative we generate surpluses and reinvest to help provide the team with the best possible chance of success.
What are three key leadership strengths you bring to the Titans?1. The leadership skills I developed as a referee at the top level for almost 15 years. In that role I was constantly required to make quick decisions under relentless scrutiny and critical review. You can't survive in that sort of pressure cooker environment without well developed interpersonal and leadership skills.
2. My business managerial experience. The breadth of experience I gained working in both the private and public sectors has stood me in good stead in leading people to get the best possible results from them.
3. My time in politics, specifically as a Minister of the Crown, has rounded off my skills and experience as a leader.
As CEO of the Titans I will be calling on everything I have learnt during my sporting and business career in an attempt to lead the organisation into the future - a future where the best years for the club lay ahead.
What is your leadership mantra?
I am not sure I would call it a mantra. It is more about my personal style of leadership which is built on assembling the best possible people, providing them with the optimal structure and operating environment, allowing them the autonomy to utilise their skills and instilling the entire organisation with a sense of stability, confidence and inspiration.What have you been able to bring from the political arena to your current role?
My time in politics reinforced that too much bureaucracy stifles innovation and productivity. People will generally perform better in an environment where they feel empowered to use their own judgment and initiative.
What are some of the challenges you foresee for the city over the next five years?
The Gold Coast generally has an incredibly bright future as the economy continues to recover and infrastructure projects start to rise out of the ground. This city has so much to offer and so many natural assets. Our challenge as a business is to ensure the iSelect Gold Coast Titans take every opportunity to capitalise on the wonderful opportunities that will present themselves over the coming years leading up to the Commonwealth Games. My personal objective is to ensure the Titans football team, the Titans brand, and the Titans business growth are front and centre as part of the city's resurgence.