Canberra Raiders chairman John McIntyre will step down from his post in November as the NRL club undergoes one of the biggest management overhauls in its history.
McIntyre plans to announce his impending retirement as chairman at the Raiders annual presentation ball on Wednesday night.
The Raiders patriarch has a 32-year history at the club and his departure comes as the Raiders continue the search to replace sacked coach David Furner.
Approached by The Canberra Times about the speculation he planned to retire, McIntyre confirmed he would step down at the end of this term, by November 1. McIntyre did not want to comment further, preferring to break the news personally to the club’s stakeholders at the Mal Meninga Medal presentation at the AIS Arena on Wednesday.
Following one of the most turbulent seasons in Raiders history, McIntyre’s departure will be just as monumental in the club’s future direction as the sacking of Furner.
The McIntyres and Furners have had long family dynasties at the Raiders, with the club long having to withstand accusations of nepotism from critics.
The McIntyre family built the Raiders, John having been there since its inception in 1982.
His father, Les McIntyre, was the founding chairman of the Raiders, while John McIntyre was the inaugural chief executive.
David Furner was son of Canberra’s first coach, Don Furner senior, while his elder brother, Don Junior, remains as chief executive.
It’s understood the decision to sack David Furner last month was one McIntyre personally struggled with.
McIntyre was a staunch supporter of Furner and a close family friend, fighting on his behalf when the coach had previously been under attack to keep his position.
McIntyre has also been as defiant about his own role, with ongoing rumours over recent years that he would stand down. Asked in June last year whether he would contemplate retirement, McIntyre said: ‘‘Not until I find somebody as boneheaded as me to take over.’’
It is understood that long-serving board member Allan Hawke could be in line to take over as chairman.
Having resigned as Raiders chief executive in 1991 in the wake of the club’s salary cap scandal, McIntyre rejoined the Raiders as chairman in 2002 when Canberra District Rugby League took back ownership of the club from News Limited.
It’s unknown whether McIntyre will continue in some capacity with the Raiders board.
The Raiders will also take another step towards appointing a new coach as early as Wednesday, with the board to meet and narrow its list of candidates, which will include Ricky Stuart, Tim Sheens, Neil Henry and Andrew Dunemann.
The Raiders board met on Sunday and is set to reconvene and endorse formal approaches to candidates.
It’s understood the Raiders board is looking more favourably at appointing a senior coach, possibly even a coaching director with assistants provided more responsibility.
It would be similar to the structures employed by Queensland State of Origin Mal Meninga, who is on the subcommittee charged with finding the next Raiders coach.
It would also mirror a structure used successfully by Jake White at the Brumbies, with Laurie Fisher and Stephen Larkham employed as forwards and backs coaches respectively.
The Raiders have also looked at coaching models in the American NFL.
While there is some pressure to appoint a replacement quickly, the board is holding its nerve, given interim coach Dunemann remains contracted for next year and there is confidence he can initiate plans for the 2014 pre-season until he or someone else is appointed.
Parramatta coach and former Raiders premiership player Ricky Stuart does headline a list of candidates, but Sheens and Henry are both without jobs in the NRL, which may ease their transition to Canberra.