Leader of Tigers to bow out of fight

Falling on his sword: Steven Humphreys. Photo: Steve Christo Wests Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys has resigned, saying the move will help pave the way for a new spirit of cooperation between the partners of the joint-venture club.
Nanjing Night Net

Humphreys made the decision on Friday night but will continue in the role for the next two months while a replacement is sought. The former Qantas and British Airways executive, who took the job in July 2009, said he had made his decision with ”a heavy heart”. Humphreys and the entire club have been under pressure following a disastrous start to the season which has left them in last place. He made the decision before the embarrassing 54-10 loss to South Sydney on Friday night.

”I’ve got long personal ties with the club; I love it and have genuinely found it a privilege,” Humphreys told Fairfax Media. ”It’s a big call and one I do with a heavy heart, but I’m doing it because it’s in the best interests of the club.

”It’s in that context that I make that difficult personal decision. Wherever I might end up, I’ll always be looking out and trying to help out however I can.”

Humphreys has been caught in the middle of boardroom politics between the Balmain and Western Suburbs factions. Significantly, those parties have come together to work through their differences and resolved to modernise their corporate structure, with the help of the NRL, in the interests of working more harmoniously. It is in this context that Humphreys chose to step aside, to allow a new chief executive to drive the partnership.

”I love this club and have always found it a privilege to work here, but given that proposed change program the board is going through we have agreed now is the ideal time for a new CEO to come through and assist the board with some of that change work,” he said. ”We’ve agreed that I’ll be moving on in a couple of months. In that period of time it will be business as usual and I will do everything I can to improve things and support the board in particular and protect our commercial interests. After that period of time, they can bring in a new CEO.”

The son of former rugby league administrator Kevin Humphreys, Stephen was touted as a candidate for the job of ARLC CEO, which eventually went to Dave Smith. Humphreys has had a long history with the club since his time as a player. He wore the jersey 40 times at first-grade level.

While the club is going through a difficult period on and off the field, Humphreys was adamant Wests Tigers had a strong future. As for his own, he was unsure what his next move would be. ”I’ve not thought about what to do next professionally because I’m totally committed here and will be for the next couple of months,” he said.

”My mind will turn to that in time. I love the game and would dearly love to be involved. I’ve got skills and experiences I can apply to a range of different things and I’ll do that one step at a time. For me it’s been about making this decision, which has been difficult. Now it’s made, I’ve got two months to finish as well as I can here and it’s a commitment I’ve made to [chairman] Mike [Bailey], [deputy chairman] Nick [Di Girolamo] and, most importantly, myself.”

Bailey paid tribute to Humphreys, describing him as one of rugby league’s ”great communicators”. ”Steve has been a great ambassador for rugby league and this club,” he said. ”One of the most disappointing aspects in losing him was that he wasn’t here for the premiership we won in 2005.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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