FAI appoint partner to spearhead CEO search

The FAI have appointed Odgers Berndtson to spearhead their search for a permanent chief executive, with advertisements due to be placed tomorrow.
FAI appoint partner to spearhead CEO search

Former FAI CEO John Delaney was 14 and a half years in the post until April 2019. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Former FAI CEO John Delaney was 14 and a half years in the post until April 2019. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

The FAI have appointed Odgers Berndtson to spearhead their search for a permanent chief executive, with advertisements due to be placed tomorrow.

John Delaney was 14 and a half years in the post until April 2019 when he was placed on gardening leave due to a string of investigations surrounding governance and financial issues. He eventually quit five months later with a severance package of €462,000.

Since then, Rea Walsh, Noel Mooney, Paul Cooke, and, most recently, Gary Owens, have assumed the role on an interim basis.

John Foley, a member of the National League executive during the Delaney regime, also backed out of the post at the eleventh hour in December as Sports Minister Shane Ross looked to move away from what he described as the ‘old FAI’.

Owens, employed since January alongside his deputy, Niall Quinn, has not ruled out applying for the vacancy.

The annual salary on offer is expected to be significantly lower than the €360,000 basic Delaney earned.

He had received an additional €36,000 per annum rent allowance and, unbeknown to most of his board, brokered a golden handcuffs deal which would have entitled him to a €2m loyalty bonus had he stayed in the job until 2021.

The full liabilities of the FAI only became clearer following Delaney’s demise last year. Instead of achieving his promised debt-free status by 2020, the Association went into this year burdened by debts of €63m.

It took a state bailout agreement in January for the FAI to avoid facing potential administration. Members also ratified a refinancing package in March with lenders Bank of Ireland worth €52.5m.

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