By Luke Voogt
Former AFL player and long-time football administrator Steve Hocking will take over as chief executive officer of Geelong Cats at the end of this season.
Geelong Football Club President Craig Drummond announced Hocking’s appointment on Monday.
“Steve Hocking’s deep football and commercial experience is the perfect combination for our next CEO,” he said.
“I’m confident that Steve’s values-based leadership, discipline and focus will continue to drive a culture of high performance and success for the club.”
Hocking began his career in Geelong’s back line in 1984 and went on to play 199 games, many alongside younger brother Garry.
He retired after the 1994 AFL grand final but returned as Geelong’s chairman of selectors in 2004, before assuming the role of assistant general manager – football operations.
In 2014, Hocking became the club’s commercial general manager before returning to the football department as its general manager in 2015.
The AFL appointed Hocking as its football operations general manager in 2017.
In this role he led the operation of the AFL and AFLW, and oversaw the rules of the competition, the match review panel and tribunal systems, umpiring, key talent pathways and elite coaching development programs.
“As a strong advocate for the AFL industry, Steve has driven higher standards across all elements of football, including the quality of the game, diversity and the mental health of all industry participants,” Drummond said.
“We are delighted to welcome Steve back to the club.”
Hocking will take over from current CEO Brian Cook, who has led Geelong Football Club for the past 23 years.
During this time Cook helped rebuild the Cats’ finances, oversaw four major redevelopments at GMHBA Stadium and was instrumental in securing funding for a fifth stage, set to commence later this year.
Cook also presided over one of the most successful on-field periods in Geelong Cats’ history and the introduction of a women’s football program to the club over the past five years.
Drummond acknowledged Cook’s “extraordinary contributions” during his time at the Cats.
“Under his leadership, Brian has transformed the Geelong Football Club,” he said.
“On behalf of the board, the staff, our members, sponsors, and key stakeholders, thank you Brian for your leadership, service and legacy to our club.
“I also am delighted to confirm that Brian has agreed to continue his great service to the club in an advisory role from 2022.
“The club will formally recognise and celebrate Brian’s contributions as CEO later this year.”