The Ballymore cleanout has continued with Queensland Rugby Union chief executive Jim Carmichael to step down from the role at the end of the year.
Carmichael’s impending exit comes on the back of former chairman Rod McCall’s retirement last month and the sacking of Queensland Reds Super Rugby coach Richard Graham earlier this week.
Carmichael, who has served as a QRU board member and CEO since 2009, said he was looking for a new challenge in his career with his decision some 12 months in the making.
“Although in sport, the work is never completed, I was satisfied with the transformation and reform we have put in place not only for rugby in Queensland but also for the influence we have been able to have on the national and international strategy for the code,” Carmichael said.
“Therefore, I came to a decision last year that it was time for me pursue another major challenge in my career and the QRU Board has been aware of my thinking since before the Christmas break.”
Victorian Carmichael was a newcomer to rugby when he joined the Reds in 2009, having worked for the AFL as head of new business and entertainment.
A statement from the Reds claimed rugby participation in Queensland has increased by 330 per cent during Carmichael’s reign, while QRU revenue has risen by 50 per cent and membership numbers have jumped tenfold.
While he was a major part of Queensland’s ascent to the 2011 Super Rugby title and helped the organisation establish a solid financial footing, Carmichael has also overseen a worrying slide over the past few seasons and failed to retain a number of key players, including fan favourites Quade Cooper, Will Genia and Digby Ioane.
The team’s woes culminated in the awful loss at home to the Western Force on the weekend and the axing of Graham as coach on Monday.
QRU chairman Damien Frawley said Carmichael’s “fresh perspective” as a non-rugby person helped advance the sport not only in Queensland, but across the whole country.
“When Jim arrived at Ballymore from Melbourne in 2009 there was huge uncertainty around the game and this organisation,” Frawley said.
“The successes of the QRU’s Future Generation Strategy, which delivered growth and sustainability to the code in Queensland between 2010-2015 under a ‘one economy philosophy’, was an important milestone for the code in Queensland.
“I look forward to working with Jim as we continue to consolidate and also make the necessary transitions ahead of 2017.”
Carmichael said the QRU will shortly begin the hunt for his replacement, a process likely to work in tandem with the search for a full-time coach.