Today I am delighted to inform you of the appointment of Ben Rutten as John Worsfold’s successor at the end of the 2020 season. This will be part of a 12-month transition plan which will culminate in John Worsfold’s final year as senior coach next year.

As part of the succession, Ben will serve as senior assistant coach next season, before assuming the top job for 2021 on a three-year contract.  

Stability is a core principle of what a successful club looks like. With our senior coach John Worsfold’s guidance, our football program has significantly stabilised over the past four years with a playing group who are as determined as ever to achieve success together.

We have been having lengthy discussions with John about his own future beyond the end of his current contract. In collaboration with John and others, a recommendation from chief executive officer Xavier Campbell and football director Sean Wellman was to the Board to implement a succession plan with John guiding the next senior coach of the Essendon Football Club over a 12-month period.

Ben will then transition into the role at the end of next season and commence a three-year deal as the 33rd senior coach of the Essendon Football Club.

The Board formally ratified this decision yesterday.

As part of the recent process, Ben presented to the Board of Directors his coaching philosophies and vision for the next phase of our football program. Guided by John, we believe this will best position us for a seamless but important transition for our football club over the next twelve months.

True to his nature, John was honest and upfront about the position he was in with his family located back in his hometown of Perth. He was uncertain about his future in Melbourne beyond 2020, and naturally, has the Club’s full support to put his family first.

We collectively considered what that club’s senior coaching position looked like beyond next season. It is responsible management to contemplate all options for the future, both short, medium and long-term.

Having ongoing discussions with John, we identified the opportunity to establish this succession plan, knowing we had an outstanding internal proposition in Ben Rutten.

This succession plan plays to the strengths of both individuals – as we believed Ben is the right person to lead this club beyond 2020, while the support and mentoring structure with John is an ideal preparation and grounding for Ben.

Externally, we understand there was significant interest in our senior coach’s ongoing tenure throughout the season. It is a credit to John for being able to stay the course with his trademark calm, respectful and measured approach, always putting the best interest of the club first and remaining focused on taking our club to its second finals appearance in three years.

Internally, there has always been very clear alignment between the Board, Xavier and John.

We believe this transition will give the club an opportunity to enter our next phase seamlessly and with the required stability needed to best position our club for success.

John is a man of integrity and an individual of the highest calibre. He has made a significant contribution to Essendon since arriving in 2015, and we are indebted to him for his outstanding service, steadiness and dedication he has provided to not only our football program, but our football club more broadly.

Unquestionably, John has been the right man to lead our football program and the role he will play in 2020 will arguably be as important as any of the past few years at the club, as we prepare for the next phase of our journey. 

We also congratulate Ben on his appointment today – he has the credentials to take this club forward. His professionalism, his understanding of the game and growth mindset will help us continue to drive this club forward. 

Our members and supporters can take confidence that our club has taken the time required to build this detailed and considered plan. A plan that we strongly believe best positions our club to achieve success into the future.

We thank you for your continued support of the Mighty Bombers and already look forward to the 2020 season ahead.

Yours sincerely,
Lindsay Tanner