The axe may well be hovering over the Melbourne Rebels but they have adopted a "business as usual" approach towards their future with the annnouncement on Sunday that Baden Stephenson has taken over as CEO.
The widely experienced Stephenson was the Rebels' General Manager of Football Operations and will now assume responsibility of the day-to-day management of the club, including recruitment and operations.
Rebels owner Andrew Cox said that Stephenson’s experience made him the ideal candidate for the role.
“Baden was integral to establishing a stable football department after the club’s initial seasons were plagued by significant turnover of players, coaches and administrators so his experience and knowledge of Victorian rugby will be key to our future,” Cox said in a media release.
“After the most challenging year in which the club’s future was negligently brought into question, Baden will be responsible for consolidating our operations and lead the Melbourne Rebels into a new successful era.”
His appointment is the first of a number of changes and appointments, the release added, being made to position the club for a bullish showing in the 2017 NRC season and the 2018 Super Rugby season.
Stephenson joined the club in 2014 and has developed a strong relationship with grassroots through the Dewar Shield Ambassador program, which sees all contracted players aligned with local clubs.
He has a long history in Rugby, with 20 years of full-time rugby employment in Australia and Japan.
Stephenson spent four years as GM at Sydney University Rugby Club, where he was responsible for managing and the highly successful business and Rugby program prior to joining the Rebels.
“I am really humbled by the opportunity and see the appointment as a huge honour,” Stephenson said.
“While there is plenty of hard work ahead, the Club has some great people and foundations in place and I really look forward to leading the Club into the future.”