FORMER Rockhampton police officer Paul White is the new chief executive of the Brisbane Broncos.
White has assured Brisbane coach Ivan Henjak of his total support when he takes over the top job from Bruno Cullen next year.
However the 48 year-old with a corporate background in coal mining and impressive rugby league resume said he would not buy into any issues confronting the club until taking up his post in January.
Asked about constant references to Henjak’s hold on Brisbane’s coaching job, White said:
“My priority is to give Ivan and all his staff my leadership and support as I will do to all the members of the organisation.
”That’s a commitment I give to everyone.
“Ivan is the coach. I’ll be coming into this role in January when the season is about to start and I’ll give him my full commitment, support and leadership.”
Brisbane chairman Darryl Somerville rubbished the reports.
“There’s nothing really to discuss there, Ivan is our coach and that’s it.
”All the stuff you read in the press, hasn’t been contributed to be us, that’s the press writing it.“
An outside back in his playing days, White was selected in the Queensland Police Team of the Century alongside master coach Wayne Bennett and other league greats Mal Meninga and the late Peter Jackson.
He has been a senior executive with metallurgical coal business Anglo American for the past five years and his record as a player - which includes representing Queensland Residents and captaining North and Central Queensland side - makes him a perfect fit to replace Cullen.
”I look forward to the wonderful challenges ahead and thank the Broncos for the wonderful opportunity they have given me,“ White said on Monday.
”I make a commitment to our shareholders, our supporters and all the people associated with this organisation in Brisbane that I’ll give this job 110 per cent like I’ve done with all the roles I’ve undertaken throughout my life. I hope to make a real success of it.
“It’s probably a once if a lifetime opportunity.”
He said one challenge he faced was understanding the on and off field needs in a global sports market where so many changes were taking place.
Boosting Brisbane’s supporter base was one of his immediate goals.
“We’ve traditionally out-performed the league (NRL) with our average attendances,” he said.
“Last year it was 35,000 (average). I think the real challenge is to convert those 35,000, or as many of them as we can, to season members.
”When you do that, you take a lot of the risk out of your business.“
White acknowledged he was coming to a club with a proud history and culture which had enjoyed great success.
”One thing is to respect the history and traditions of the club and the work that Bruno and others have done during their tenures. I think that’s critically important,“ he said.
”The club was founded by people with great vision 20 years ago, we’re entering a period where we’re getting third generation supporters coming through and it’s a wonderful opportunity to really embed that tradition.
“Whether I’m breaking new ground, I think I am a genuine rugby league person and while I have a strong corporate background, I’m a massive fan of the organisation about how they’ve gone out their business on and off the field.
”It’s a huge challenge for me to make sure I retain that as the overall culture of the club.“