AFL Chief Executive Officer Gillon McLachlan today announced the appointment of Gold Coast Suns Chief Executive Travis Auld to a new position on the AFL Senior Management Team as AFL General Manager, Clubs and AFL Operations.

Auld joins the AFL Executive having been the Suns’ CEO since 2009 when it began the process towards entering the AFL competition, having previously worked for more than a decade at Essendon, including the role as Chief Operating Officer at the Bombers.

Mr Auld will join the AFL after the conclusion of the Gold Coast Suns’ season and Mr McLachlan said his primary responsibilities would encompass a range of duties across the relationships between the AFL and the 18 clubs, including support funding, strategy, competitive balance across the competition and the match-day experience at venues for fans.

“I am delighted that Travis has joined the AFL after a tremendous five-year contribution to the Gold Coast Suns to establish the expansion club from the ground-up as the 17th team in our competition,” Mr McLachlan said.

“Travis has worked in senior roles at clubs both in our heartland here in Victoria and in our important development areas and has leading experience of both the issues facing clubs across the competition and the work required around building a fan base.

“His skills will be a vital resource for the competition as a whole and the creation of this new role as part of a restructure our executive aims to increase collaboration across the industry, further improve our exchange of information and build on the knowledge for the AFL business and the broader club network,” Mr McLachlan said.

Travis Auld said he was delighted to take up the role with the AFL.

“Leading the establishment of the Gold Coast Suns into the AFL has been a wonderful opportunity, both personally and professionally.

“This role allows me to utilise the experience I have gained working at club land in both traditional and non-traditional markets over the past 15 years.

“It is a very exciting time to be joining the AFL and to be able to play a role across the competition, working closely with clubs for the ultimate benefit of our fans, our clubs and our venues,” he said.

Mr McLachlan said Mr Auld’s major responsibilities would include:

  • Work to co-ordinate across the AFL Executive issues pertaining clubs, venues and fans
  • Work with all clubs to improve strategy, structures, talent development, profitability and performance but specifically expansion clubs, and clubs receiving funding from club future fund (CFF)
  • Work with clubs on their match day experience, including taking learning from best practice clubs and transferring them (including overseas learnings)
  • Lead the execution of the competitive balance strategy to ensure the key principles are effectively implemented.
  • Oversee the financial and commercial management and performance of the clubs to ensure financial viability
  • Key point of contact to ensure accountability at CFF clubs
  • Work with venues to drive a first class match day experience for supporters, driving attendance growth
  • Work with venues on cost and accessibility issues
  • Work with supporter groups and all third parties to own fan experience on match day
  • Be key point of contact on fan related issues

Travis Auld completed a Bachelor of Business at La Trobe University before joining international accounting firm William Buck in 1993. He joined Essendon in its finance department in 1996, progressing through the club’s administration to become Chief Operating Officer. He was then appointed as the initial CEO of the Gold Coast Suns. Travis and his wife Stacey have two children, Isabella (11) and Thomas (10).