The Wests Tigers have been thrown into chaos with the departure of CEO Justin Pascoe and Lee Hagipantelis and the dismissal of its entire board, according to media reports.
Two big names have been drafted in to tide the club over with former NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell taking over as interim Chairman and ex-South Sydney supremo Shane Richardson as the interim CEO.
The club board are set to meet this Tuesday night, but the major figures have already resigned and the meeting has now been pushed back to Wednesday to allow for legal documents to be drawn up.
“We are determined to be successful for our members and fans and that process begins in the front office,” told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Lee and Justin faced enormous challenges, but they have left a legacy which gives us a strong base for the future. But one thing is clear – this club is determined to provide the leadership required to be successful in the NRL.”
Holman Barnes Group, which controls the club, has been conducting an independent review into the operations of the Tigers following years of poor performances on the field.
The review was spear-headed by former NRL financial chief Tony Crawford and business figure Gary Barnier, MD at Benchmarking Matters and Cooperage Capital.
The ownership of the Tigers is split between the Holman Barnes Group (90%), the rebranded Wests Ashfield Leagues Club organisation, plus a remaining 10% from the Balmain club.
Dave Gilbert for Holman Barnes, Danny Stapleton for the Balmain Tigers and an as-yet-unannounced Wests Magpies member will form the rest of the new board alongside O’Farrell and Richardson.
The move also throws a major sponsorship arrangement up in the air, as Hagipantelis is the Principal at Bryden’s Lawyers, the legal firm who are currently the biggest corporate partner of the Tigers.
Barry O’Farrell returns to the club, where he was previously chair in 2019 before ceding the position to Hagipantelis.
Richardson has been around rugby league for decades and famously led South Sydney to the Premiership in 2014, breaking one of the longest droughts in the sport. He was also involved with Penrith in their 2003 Premiership and at various clubs in the Super League.
He has an established relationship with Crawford and recently featured in a long series of podcasts on the state of the NRL in 2023 along with host James Graham, coach Jason Demetriou, player Dale Finucane and journalist Danny Weidler.
More to follow