The South Sydney Rabbitohs are paying tribute to long-serving General Manager of Football and former CEO Shane Richardson who has resigned from his position this week.
Shane Richardson resigns
Mr Richardson will forgo his position after 16 years with the Club to assist the Rabbitohs’ financial position caused by the current situation with COVID-19 (coronavirus). Mr Richardson will continue to be involved with the Club on a consultancy basis, his vast experience invaluable to the Foundation Club.
Mr Richardson has led the Club to many achievements, and through many difficult periods, over the past 17 seasons including the establishment of ‘The Rabbitoh Way’; the change in ownership structure with the introduction of private investment; the funding for the Rabbitohs’ Community and High Performance Centre at Heffron Park in Maroubra; taking the lead on Membership growth in the sport of Rugby League; other commercial growth that saved the Club from relocation or extinction early in his tenure; the establishment of Souths Cares, the charity arm of the South Sydney Rabbitohs; and the Club’s 21st Premiership victory in 2014.
In an address to Rabbitohs Members today, Mr Richardson said: “In times like these, leaders have to step forward and lead.
“When we were reviewing things with Blake (Solly) early in the week, it became very clear to me on Tuesday that I needed to step down. The cost of having me remain in the football department was one of our largest costs and as a Club we need to cut the cloth to suit the suit.
“I made the decision on my own, it’s my decision, and then I informed Blake, the Board and Russell (Crowe). No one pushed me into this decision. It became very obvious to me that this was a decision that needed to be made for the next 18 months for the Club.
“I’ll remain on as a consultant to the Club to assist in different areas where they see the need and this will be a part time arrangement.”
Mr Richardson said the Rabbitohs are set up for new leadership to take the Club forward.
“We have worked hard before this virus hit to ensure that we are in a great place in terms of succession planning,” Mr Richardson said.
“I honestly believe we have a stronger team in place now than when we won the premiership in 2014 and they can lead us into the future.
“We have, in my opinion, the best Coach in the game in Wayne Bennett, and he and Jason Demetriou will be able to lead the players through this time.
“We have the best football staff in the game in Brock Schaefer, Mark Ellison, Ben Rogers and Jeremy Monahan and they are ready to take this challenge on and lead the football department from this point onwards.
“Blake is the best young CEO in the game and has done a tremendous job alongside Shannon Donato and Peter Legg with the administration side of the business, and they will continue to lead the best young team in the game.
“To the Members, I understand exactly how you feel at this time and it’s more important than ever to stick together with the Club and work together for when we are ready to get back out on the field.
“To Nick Pappas who brought me to the Club initially 16 years ago, we’ve had ups and downs and many challenges but Nick and his Board have always made the best decisions in the interest of this Club. I admire him and the Board for that. We’ve lived through the tough times and I want to thank them for everything they’ve done for me over the years.
“Finally to Russell, we have a great relationship which has developed over the years built on trust, loyalty and mateship. He will help lead us through this.
“As our Members say, SSTID – South Sydney ‘Til I Die.”
South Sydney Rabbitohs Chairman, Nicholas Pappas, paid tribute to Mr Richardson.
“Shane has been the heart of the Rabbitohs for the past 16 years and he has offered great service to the Club throughout this period,” Mr Pappas said.
“He has seen the Club rise from the very bottom to the very top, as is evidenced by our premiership-victory in 2014.
“We owe him a debt of gratitude for his commitment to the Club over an extended period of time and we look forward to his wise counsel through the consultancy arrangement we have reached with him.
“We offer our best wishes to both Shane and his wife Kate and we look forward to seeing them at a game in the not too distant future.”