The next NRL chief executive is not expected to be unveiled before the end of March.
On the same day second-in-command Suzanne Young resigned, a NRL CEOs’ meeting in Auckland was told a new league boss would not be on deck until a month into the 2016 season proper.
Young quit her post as chief operating officer on Friday due to family reasons.
Her departure ensured the NRL had lost three senior officials since the end of last season, including head of game strategy and development Shane Richardson.
But ARL Commission (ARLC) chairman John Grant told the club CEOs they were moving closer to finding a replacement for former league chief executive Dave Smith, who resigned last October.
“A shortlist of internal and external candidates is expected to be finalised soon for interview and a new CEO announced by the end of March,” a NRL statement said.
“The start time for the successful candidate will depend on how much notice the successful candidate needs to give.”
Ten external candidates, including Cricket NSW chairman John Warn and NIB Health Funds chief Mark Fitzgibbon, will reportedly be interviewed for the top job.
NRL head of football Todd Greenberg is still considered the favourite.
Meanwhile, CEOs were also told the under 20s National Youth Competition would be phased out after 2017.
It is expected to be replaced by state-based under-20s competitions.
The meeting also began to thrash out details of departing Richardson’s proposed Platinum League (PL).
Richardson, who is returning to South Sydney as football general manager, discussed plans to introduce the PL as a second-tier competition that would be above the NSW and Queensland Cups and feature sides from New Zealand and Fiji.
In other developments, a NRL spokesman said the meeting also helped the league and clubs move closer to reaching agreement on a memorandum of understanding on club funding.
In December, Grant announced they would deliver more than $100 million extra to the 16 clubs each year from 2018-2022.
It followed the $1.8 billion broadcast rights deal secured by the ARLC.