CO-FOUNDER of Seek Paul Bassat (pictured) has become the newest addition to the AFL Commission, taking over from Graeme John, who is retiring.
Bassat, who founded one of the world’s leading online employment businesses with his brother Andrew, will commence his role in February next year, one month after John’s retirement and just in time to launch the NAB Cup.
“I am really looking forward to joining the Commission,” Bassat told The AJN.
“The AFL is recognised as one of the best-run sporting organisations in the world and it is a privilege to have an opportunity to be involved.”
Bassat said the AFL’s expansion into Greater Western Sydney and the Gold Coast, as well as the new multi-billion dollar broadcast agreement heralded a new era for the competition.
“It is an exciting time for [AFL], with the start of an 18-team competition and a new broadcasting agreement that will enable fans around Australia to have unprecedented access to live football,” Bassat said.
He was supported by chairman of the commission, Mike Fitzpatrick, who believes Bassat’s 14 years as CEO of Seek holds him in good stead to join the commission.
“Given his business background and broader understanding of digital media and its implications for business and football, we believe Mr Bassat will add to the skills of the AFL Commission,” Fitzpatrick told the AFL website.
Bassat was also backed by David Smorgon, president of the Western Bulldogs, as well as Adelaide chairman Rob Chapman and current AFL commissioner Sam Mostyn.
Bassat will become only the third Jewish administrator to be voted onto the AFL Commission, with current member and family court judge Linda Dessau and former chairman of the ACCC Graeme Samuel the others.
Dessau – who created the Essendon Women’s Network and has assisted in the establishment of other networks for women – was appointed in 2007, while Samuel was an influential member from the commission’s foundation in 1985 until his departure
Bassat will also return to Seek to rejoin the board as a non-executive director next year, when he comes back to Australia after being overseas with his family.
ASHLEY SHENKER AND ADAM KAMIEN