Justin Reeves has resigned as Hawthorn chief executive as the Hawks’ struggles on the pitch continue and the club deals with an investigation into allegations of historical racism.
Reeves announced his exit to fellow directors at a board meeting on Wednesday after just over five years in the job, with Ash Klein appointed as acting CEO.
Reeves told the board the time had come to step away to prioritise his mental health and wellbeing and spend more time with family.
“Reeves will step down from the role effective immediately due to the personal toll and the need to focus on his wellbeing in what has been a very difficult period for the club,” a club statement read.
Reeves was not at the club during the time of the alleged racist incidents but he has overseen the fall out of the cultural safety review that led to the ongoing investigation into the alleged mistreatment of First Nations players.
Reeves also presided over the messy head coaching transition to Sam Mitchell from Alastair Clarkson, who along with Chris Fagan and Jason Burt have been named as figures involved in an alleged episode of racism during their time with the club. All deny any wrongdoing.
Clarkson stood aside from his position at North Melbourne last week, also citing the toll the investigation had taken on his mental health.
“Justin is a highly respected sporting executive, which is a reputation built from delivering great results and running sound operations for more than 15 years in AFL football,” Hawthorn president Andy Gowers said.
“On behalf of the board, I thank Justin for his unwavering commitment to the Hawks over nearly six years, during which there has been some challenging periods that required astute leadership.
“Hawthorn has initiated a search for a new CEO and we look forward to working with acting CEO Ash Klein in the meantime.”
The Hawks sit 16th on the AFL ladder, having managed just two wins so far this season.
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