CARLTON coach Mick Malthouse is devastated by the twin losses of chief executive Greg Swann and president Stephen Kernahan from the club.
Swann, who announced his resignation on Wednesday, and Malthouse share a history including a long stint together at Collingwood.
Malthouse went so far as to say he would never have come to Carlton if not for Swann.
"I'm bitterly disappointed," Malthouse said. "I'm really disappointed that he is going.
"He's certainly one of the best, if not the best, CEOs that I've encountered in the last 20-odd years - he's streets ahead."
Malthouse dismissed the notion that Swann's departure would lead to his own.
"You just get on with your job. I'm a servant of the board," he said.
The pair set about re-establishing Collingwood as an AFL force last decade, taking the club to four grand finals and one win.
Their goal, which Malthouse said was mocked at the time, was to turn the Magpies into a powerhouse similar to English Premier League side Manchester United.
"We started off at a football club that was broke - poor in membership; couldn't win a game; a whole host of things.
"I did make a remark which was laughed at ... trying to make that club into the Manchester United of Australian Rules football.
"Greg had a massive input in getting it to that stage.
"He's come here and the numbers speak for themselves. - three times the membership, three times the turnover and a football club that's got these rooms and heading in the right direction."
He backed Swann's ability to take over at another club or code - taking a pot-shot at the Brazil-bound Socceroos in the process.
"Greg's got the capabilities of being a CEO at a number of sports," Malthouse said.
"Have the Socceroos got a sponsor?
"I suspect Greg would have had a major sponsor by now."
Malthouse also paid tribute to outgoing president Kernahan, saying he had formed a special bond with the former champion forward.
"In my limited time here with Stephen Kernahan, he is a class act.
"I will miss Stephen dreadfully."