Ben Buckley has been officially voted in as Chairman of the North Melbourne Football Club, following a Board Meeting on Wednesday night.
Buckley played 74 games for North Melbourne between 1986 and 1993, and was vice-captain for the club from 1990 until 1992.
“I am humbled and honoured to have been elected and consider it a privilege to serve the club in this position,” Buckley said in a letter addressed to the North members.
“On a personal note, this Club means a lot to me ... The club gave me an opportunity in life after I crossed from Tasmania and will be forever indebted to it.”
Buckley succeeds James Brayshaw, who spent nine years in charge of the club.
In accordance with the constitution, Directors can only serve a maximum of three terms of three years on the Board. As a result, Brayshaw resigned with Buckley then elected to take his place.
"Let me commend James on a decade of outstanding service at the helm of our great club, dating back to 2007,” Buckley added.
“His leadership, commitment and steadying hand has guided us through some extremely challenging times and has allowed us to grow and prosper like never before.
“On behalf of everyone at the club, I want to pass on a heartfelt thank you to James for everything he’s achieved and wish him all the best for the future. I’m sure James will not be lost to us, as I expect to see him at our games and various functions in the years to come.”
Buckley is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Beyond Boundaries Group, a company focused on technology solutions that creates additional value for brands and rights holders in the Sports, Media and Entertainment sector. Beyond Boundaries Group has offices in Singapore, India, United Kingdom and Australia.
Prior to joining Beyond Boundaries Group he was the Executive Director of Sport & Content Partnerships at Foxtel and was Chief Executive Officer of the Football Federation Australia (FFA) from 2006 to 2012.
Buckley also spent seven years as the Chief Operating Officer at the Australian Football League (AFL) from 1999 to 2006.
During his time at the AFL, he was responsible for managing and negotiating broadcast and media rights, strategic planning including developing future expansion opportunities, creating the annual fixture for the competition, managing the corporate partnerships sponsorship program and had responsibility for the brand identity and marketing function.
Between 1990 and 1999 he held leadership positions with Nike and Electronic Arts, including the Vice President of Electronic Arts for Australasia and as Marketing Director for Nike in Japan and Marketing Director for Nike in Australia. In addition, he holds a Bachelor of Applied Science.
“Although James has left the club in great shape, there’s still plenty of work to be done. While we have made some tough decisions, particularly in the past few months, our focus is and always has been, to be successful on and off the field,” Buckley wrote.
“All our efforts and energy must be put into providing the players and football department everything they need to succeed but we also need to improve in all areas across the organisation and capitalise on the momentum we’ve generated in recent seasons.
“To our loyal and passionate members and supporters, I cannot wait to work together to ensure our club continues to stay competitive year in, year out, on and off the field.
"Your commitment and enthusiasm is what keeps us strong and driven. North Melbourne supporters are unlike any others and I’ve held that view since I ran out in front of you all those years ago. Your passion has always been unmatched and unrivalled.
“I will guarantee that I, and the current Board of Directors, will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of excellence and success.”
With a position on the Board available due to Brayshaw’s departure, corporate communications expert Brian Walsh has filled the casual vacancy as a Director.
Walsh is the Managing Director of Bastion Reputation Management, a Melbourne-based corporate communications company that consults across a wide range of sectors to a number of high profile Australian companies, sporting organisations, Government authorities and education providers.
“It’s an absolute privilege to serve the North Melbourne Football Club,” Walsh said.
“I’ve been a passionate supporter for many decades and intend to add my skills and expertise where necessary, in order to help the club continue to thrive, grow and succeed on and off the field.”
Walsh has more than 30 years’ experience working in media and communications, including a number of senior roles at the Herald Sun. He has spent the last 16 years advising on issues management and corporate communications in various roles, including at NAB and the AFL.