TRAVIS Auld has joined the AFL's executive team as general manager of clubs and AFL operations, but won't be CEO Gillon McLachlan's deputy.  

Auld will depart Gold Coast at season's end after five years as the club's founding chief executive. 

The appointment, to a new role, means the AFL now has an 11-person executive team including McLachlan. 

"I don't have an official number two," McLachlan said. 

"There is a management team sitting under me. Travis will then pick up some specific gaps in our structure that I think's existed for a long time. 

"You shouldn't draw any implications for the rest of the management team, this complements our structure, and everyone will be picking up the slack." 

Auld's role will include coordinating issues relating to clubs, venues and fans, working with clubs on match-day experience as well as responsibility for the Club Future Fund and equalisation.

He will work with clubs to improve the overall experience for fans at matches. 

"There's an opportunity to really build the experience from when a fan arrives at the game until when they leave," he said. 

Auld said he wasn't concerned about leaving the AFL's 17th franchise in a new set of hands. 

"I've been at the Suns for five years and my role was to set up the club, lead its establishment and leave it with really strong foundations, which we have," he said. 

Former Carlton and Collingwood chief executive Greg Swann has been linked with the Suns' position, while Auld's current deputy Andrew Travis is seen as a strong internal candidate. 

Before to moving to the Gold Coast, Auld was Essendon's chief operating officer.