Hawthorn are set for a contested board election with lawyer Jennifer Holdstock, ex-Australian Super boss Ian Silk and current director Tim Shearer vying for the two vacant positions.
Three other candidates – Mulgrave Primary School principal Charles Spicer, former Hawthorn player Simon Taylor and 1991 premiership player and ex-board member Andy Gowers – have all withdrawn their nominations, averting a more heated board battle.
Ian Silk is one of the three remaining candidates vying for two spots on the Hawthorn board.Credit:Rohan Thomson
Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett has already flagged a willingness to hand over the presidency to another Hawthorn person before the end of his allotted term at the end of 2023.
Talks between the “Hawks for Change” challenge group and the board had resulted in a compromise, but one in which Taylor and Gowers would step aside, with Gowers taking up a position on the committee that decides the club’s next president and future board members.
Hawks for Change had 2900 signatures for a spill motion if Kennett did not consent to an earlier departure.
Shearer and Taylor were the Kennett board’s chosen candidates, while Former Hawks coach and triple-premiership player Peter Schwab formally nominated Silk to the Hawthorn board.
Silk, along with Gowers, has been backed by Hawks for Change, who mobilised an online campaign to curtail Kennett’s grip on the board by changing its composition.
Kennett has previously been conciliatory in his comments about both Silk, whom he called “highly qualified,” and also Gowers, the latter having been backed by a number of ex-players including five-time premiership star and former captain Gary Ayres, who nominated him for the board position.
Silk was proposed for the position by Schwab and seconded by 1971 premiership player Bruce Stevenson, who served on the board from 2012 to 2017.
Shearer is the board member responsible for fundraising for the club’s new Dingley headquarters, the Kennedy Community Centre, while Taylor had been endorsed by the board as an incoming director to replace departing member Radek Sali, the wealthy former chief executive of vitamin company Swisse.
Under Hawthorn’s constitution, Kennett is directly elected by the members, not by a vote of the majority of the board, in what is an added twist to the board battle and a complication for the campaign to cut short his presidency.
Kennett has two further years to serve on his term, having been re-elected unopposed at the 2020 annual general meeting for his second three-year term in what is his second stint at the helm of the club.
The campaign against Kennett has been fuelled in part by the flak the club copped over the exit of four-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson in a handover with Sam Mitchell, although there is strong support from all parties for Mitchell as the ongoing senior coach.
The Hawthorn Football Club AGM will be held virtually on December 14.
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