Football Victoria (FV) has announced the appointment of Chris Pehlivanis as the organisation’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective January 22, 2024.
Pehlivanis will start the role of FV CEO following his four-year stint as CEO of Western United FC where he steered the club towards success through its infancy, winning an A-League Men Championship in just the third season of the club’s existence.
Under his guidance, Western also attained an A-League Women’s licence and reaching the Grand Final in the inaugural campaign, as well as successfully launching the WUFC Academy to create pathways for junior footballers in the West.
Pehlivanis worked at AFL Club Essendon as their Chief Financial Officer and boasts previous commercial leadership experience in the sports industry.
Pehlivanis expressed his desire to make impactful changes and shared his vision.
“I am honoured to be appointed CEO of Football Victoria. My vision to empower clubs, grow pathways, invest in infrastructure, establish a more connected football pyramid, and take the next steps in achieving 50:50 equity strongly aligns with the goals of the FV Board of Directors,” he said in a statement.
“Participation and interest in football has never been higher. It’s crucial for our organisation to evolve and find innovative ways to sustain the momentum in 2024 and beyond.”
Football Victoria President Antonella Caré expressed her excitement at the potential for the future under new CEO Chris Pehlivanis.
“We are thrilled to welcome Chris to Football Victoria. His leadership, strategic vision and deep understanding of our game make him the ideal CEO to take our organisation forward,” she added via media release.
“Chris has built an outstanding reputation for his professionalism and people-centric approach. He is a visionary who shares our core values and is passionate about building an inclusive, equitable and strong football ecosystem in Victoria.”
FV Director Nick Vamvakas was responsible for the intensive recruitment campaign they held and spoke about the decision to choose Pehlivanis for the future of football in the state.
“We spoke with more than 70 candidates directly and conducted multiple rounds of interviews. Ultimately, Chris was appointed based on his incredible track record as a sports administrator, his thorough understanding of the football landscape and his genuine desire to champion Football Victoria’s core values.” Vamvakas added via a statement.
Football Victoria went through a very lengthy recruitment process with a total of 111 submissions received, with FV targeting candidates from a broad range of professional backgrounds.
Football Victoria say that applicants were put through a series of interviews with alternate directors ensuring integrity was maintained throughout each recruitment phase.
Chris Pehlivanis replaces Interim CEO Karen Pearce OAM who will continue her role as Executive Manager Equity, Growth and Inclusion.
The decision was formally made at the Football Victoria Annual General Meeting on December 11.