Robert Elstone has left his position as chief executive at English soccer side Everton to take up a role as head of Super League, the organising body for England’s top rugby league competition.
While the deal has not yet been confirmed by the Rugby Football League (RFL), Everton chairman Bill Kenwright announced on the Premier League outfit’s website that Elstone would be returning to rugby league.
Elstone, 54, has been at Everton for 13 years, and is set to replace Roger Draper in the role at Super League after the latter departure in January.
A former board member of rugby league side the Castleford Tigers, Elstone had previously been deputy chief executive at the Rugby Football League (RFL), rugby league’s governing body in England, in the 1990s.
Prior to that, he worked at Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, before becoming Everton’s deputy chief executive in 2005. He was promoted to the top job at the club in 2008.
In his new role, Elstone will be responsible for leading negotiations over a new media-rights deal and a possible restructuring of the competition after Super League’s clubs secured greater control over the administration of the sport late last year.
Elstone will be replaced at Everton on 1st June by Denise Barratt-Baxendale, the club’s deputy chief executive with responsibility for human resources, marketing and media, legal, risk and governance, operations and ticketing.
Keith Harris will also become the club’s deputy chairman, while Alexander Ryazantsev will take on the role of chief finance and commercial officer.
Writing on Everton’s website regarding the news, Kenwright said: “We are sad to see Robert leave the club and wish him nothing but success. Robert has obviously been a passionate Evertonian since the day he first set foot here, but I have always known that his enduring love has been rugby league. And we wish him well in his new role leading his favourite sport.”
The news comes after Everton sacked their manager Sam Allerdyce yesterday, at the end of a lacklustre season in which they finished eighth in the Premier League.