THE NEXT AFL football operations manager will be an external appointment as the League looks to fill the position left vacant by Simon Lethlean's shock resignation on Friday.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said the AFL would seek candidates immediately but no timeframe would be set on when the position might be filled. 

AFL executives Lethlean and Simkiss resign
Read Gillon McLachlan's full statement
Read Simon Lethlean's full statement

"We will work at the right speed to get the right person," he said.

Lethlean was handed the job in March after Mark Evans joined Gold Coast as CEO following four years in the position.

The football operations manager's portfolio included the development of the AFLW competition, umpiring, talent, coaching and ground operations.

Lethlean was appointed after an extensive career at the AFL overseeing media rights deals and fixturing.

He succeeded Evans, who joined the AFL from Hawthorn.

"We will work through a process. I would go to market as soon as we can for the head of football position. I can say to you that I think that that position now will be filled externally," McLachlan said.

"I don't think we need to fill it immediately. We need to get the right person. Clearly the head of football is an important role for our industry."