ESSENDON boss Paul Little has closed his stint as the club's chairman by welcoming former Victoria Police chief commissioner Ken Lay to the Bombers' board. 

Little officially stood down at Monday night's annual general meeting after steering the Bombers through two-and-a-half years of the supplements scandal, and announced Lay as the newest member of the club's revamped leadership. 

Little, who said he had "mixed feelings" about his final address to members as chairman, will be replaced in the role by former federal finance minister Lindsay Tanner, a resolution which was due to be rubber-stamped at the club's board meeting following the AGM.

Little praised the Bombers' board for staying strong through the club's most difficult period and his time in charge of the embattled Dons.  

"As directors, we exist at the pleasure of the members and we have a responsibility and that responsibility is to leave it in a better place than we found it when we joined," Little told members at the meeting.   

"As directors, I sincerely believe we have achieved that key obligation. From when I inherited the role of chairman in July, 2013, the board has worked tirelessly to be strong, stable and effective in the challenges and unprecedented times we were faced with."

Little took on the position after former chairman David Evans stepped down in the middle of 2013, the first of three seasons hit by the saga. 

Little had hoped to be in the chairman's role until the conclusion of the ASADA/WADA investigation to allow Tanner to lead the Bombers with "clear air".

However, the uncertainty surrounding WADA's appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the timing of the verdict on the 34 past and present Bombers has seen Little leave before its resolution. 

CAS verdict might not come until 2016

He used his final night to point to Essendon's strategic plan – the Bombers are aiming to be back in the top-four on the ladder within three years – as part of the foundations that the club has built to "prosper again".

"While we all justifiably hold a sense of frustration surrounding the events of ASADA/WADA – including the ongoing issues relating to the WADA appeal – our board, staff and players and you, the members, have remained resilient, loyal and focused during this period," Little said.

"At the same time we have delivered a number of outstanding achievements that will lay the foundations for our club into the future."

Lay will be the third appointment to the board in the past week, following the addition of media boss David Barham and re-elected finance director Paul Brasher.

Lay, who stepped down as police chief at the end of 2014, fills the vacant seat left by Little.

"The Essendon board nominations committee identified Ken as the preferred candidate," Little said. 

"As a passionate Essendon supporter and our current No.1 ticket holder, Ken's experience will further strengthen our board."

Little said the board's objectives in coming years will be to rebuild the Essendon brand, repay the club's debt, enhance the club's culture and increase its community presence.

The Bombers are also intent on "reinvigorating" their former Windy Hill base. 

"Our clear goal is to return pride to Essendon members and fans, and at the same time, win the respect and admiration of other Australian sporting clubs and codes," Little said.

"I firmly believe we now have the right people, the right strategy and the right framework in place to achieve that outcome.

"Our pattern for success clearly sets out an ambitious but achievable vision, both on and off the field."

Tanner later hailed Little's efforts at the helm of the club. 

"As a club we have managed to stay united, and I pay great tribute to Paul Little for his tireless work in extremely difficult circumstances, he kept the Essendon family together when many other clubs would have crumbled.

"The Essendon Football Club owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Paul for his service to the club during this challenging period in our history."