CARLTON has landed Brian Cook as its new chief executive.
In a massive coup for the Blues, Cook has agreed to join the club after a glittering 32-year career leading Geelong and West Coast.
The outgoing Cats boss and the League's longest-serving chief executive informed Geelong of his decision on Friday.
It is expected to renew Carlton's push in attracting former Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson to the club with the four-time premiership mastermind previously knocking back several overtures from the Blues.
Cook had agreed to depart the Cats at the end of this season after 23 years in the top job with former AFL football operations boss Steve Hocking to take the reins. Cook had also arranged an ongoing role with Geelong working with the club's foundation.
However, the lure of returning Carlton to its once mighty status ultimately proved too strong, accepting the offer put forward by new president Luke Sayers.
Cook assumes the role vacated by Cain Liddle who parted company with the Blues last week having called on the club to 'back me or sack me'.
Liddle had been part of the six-person panel to find David Teague's replacement as coach, which will immediately become Cook's first priority.
Cook will commence with the Blues in mid-October.
"When Luke presented this opportunity to me, he did so with a clear vision – to make the Carlton Football Club a benchmark in striving for high performance in all areas – the chance to help achieve that for a club with such a massive supporter base, with unmatched passion, this decision was a simple one for me," Cook said.
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"Football clubs are built on its people – its players, coaches, staff, members, supporters and commercial partners – my first focus will be connecting with as many of our people as possible and making sure we are all aligned on how we are going to push this football club to achieve the success it is striving for.
"There is no doubt that is going to take a lot of hard work, from a lot of Carlton people. In my experience though, there is absolutely no better feeling than when a group of people come together for one common cause and achieve the ultimate success.
"That thought should get every Carlton person excited for what lies ahead for their football club and we are going to share that experience every step of the way together."
Sayers has embarked on an aggressive restructure of the Blues on and off the field since replacing Mark LoGiudice as president last month.
"This is a significant pillar of the club's 'reset' strategy, whereby our football club is striving to bring in the best available people with strong leadership, who thrive on building and driving a high-performing culture," Sayers said.
"That is exactly what Carlton needs to take our next, significant step, and nobody fits that criteria better than Brian Cook.
"Brian is an experienced leader who, to put it simply, knows what success looks like and more importantly, knows everything that is required to achieve it – on and off the field.
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"He has directly overseen necessary changes and driven elite standards to generate an improvement in football performance, ensuring these elite standards are not only met but are sustained over a long period of time."
The Cats also issued their own statement on Friday night.
"The club has enjoyed an incredible period of success under Brian's stewardship, both on and off the field," president Craig Drummond said.
"Since Brian joined the club, we have seen our greatest period of sustained on-field success, an almost complete rebuild of GMHBA Stadium, massive reduction of debt, a significantly enhanced positive impact on the community, record membership and the introduction of our women's football program.
"Brian is the longest serving CEO in the history of the game, and he loves a challenge. He is excited about taking the reins at Carlton and we wish him well in that role.
"The club is vastly different to the one he walked into all those years ago, and we can never properly thank him for all he has done during his tenure.
"The past 20 years have ensured the long-term future of the Geelong Football Club, with Brian playing a huge part in that. When he arrived the stadium was crumbling, the club had crippling debt and there had not been a premiership since 1963."