Lethlean joins St Kilda as football boss

Dec 15, 2017 - 12:06 AM St Kilda chief executive Matt Finnis expects there will be some backlash after the Saints signed disgraced former AFL football operations boss Simon Lethlean.

But he is convinced a contrite Lethlean deserves a shot at redemption.

Lethlean replaced Mark Evans as the league's football chief in March this year, but was sensationally dumped in July because of an inappropriate relationship with a younger female colleague.

Since then he was linked to, but ultimately overlooked for, chief executive roles at Collingwood, Hawthorn and Carlton and the football department chief role at Essendon.

Newly installed Hawks president Jeff Kennett was quick to dismiss Lethlean as a candidate.

Finnis believes the work his club has done to rebuild a reputation damaged by the 2010 nude picture scandal has put them in a position to offer Lethlean a lifeline.

"We don't make decisions in a vacuum and as an organisation which is very conscious of the gains that we've made we don't make decisions lightly," Finnis said.

"But ultimately we believe that as a club we've built equity in terms of what we stand for.

"And that allows us to bring people into our club who might have made mistakes in the past but are prepared to take accountability for that and then are prepared to roll their sleeves up, get to work and demonstrate through their performance that they belong at St Kilda."

Finnis added that while there will be different views on the appointment, ultimately he's confident Saints people will understand it was made in the best interests of the club.

The move is part of a restructure brought about by the departure of chief operating officer Ameet Bains, who is now the chief executive at the Western Bulldogs.

Jamie Cox, previously St Kilda's general manager - football performance, has been demoted to a role that will see him leading emerging football programs and partnerships across the AFL, AFLW, VFL and VFLW programs.

"I am extremely pleased to be joining the club in this new role, and feel humbled to be given a second chance in the industry that I love," Lethlean said via a club statement on Friday.

"I am passionate about football and am thankful to Matt Finnis, Alan Richardson, Peter Summers and the entire board and club for giving me this opportunity."

Source: AAP

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