Confirmed: Saints land Lethlean

Simon Lethlean has joined St Kilda as their new head of football.
Simon Lethlean has joined St Kilda as their new head of football.

ST KILDA has appointed axed AFL football operations manager Simon Lethlean.

Lethlean will head up the Saints restructured football department with the club's board ratifying the move last night.

A remodelling of St Kilda's executive ranks follows the poaching of chief operating officer and legal counsel Ameet Bains.

Baines took up a new role as Western Bulldogs chief executive on Monday.

Lethlean will start next month.

Saints CEO Matt Finnis said Lethlean was the "outstanding candidate" throughout the recruiting process.

"I'm pleased to say that throughout that process Simon was the outstanding candidate ... who will help bring us closer to our goals," he said.

Simon Lethlean with AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan. Picture: Getty Images
Simon Lethlean with AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan. Picture: Getty Images

"There's no doubt we wouldn't be having this conversation if Simon hadn't resigned from the AFL in July ... (but) Simon's taken full responsibility for his actions.

"We understand people will have different views but we've made a decision that we believe is in the best interests of our footy club.

"I believe this decison brings us closer to getting the football club where we want to be, a second premiership."

Lethlean, forced out of the AFL in July over an inappropriate relationship with a younger female employee, was overlooked for the chief executive roles at Carlton, Collingwood and Hawthorn.

He was also linked to Essendon's vacant football operations job - snared by Richmond talent chief Dan Richardson - but the Dons later said he did not take part in the process.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has endorsed Lethlean for a senior club role but options for the former league footy boss appear limited.

St Kilda spoke to other industry figures and internal candidates about the new head of football position.

Former first-class cricketer Jamie Cox is the club's current football performance general manager but has been moved sideways, a move similar to Neil Balme joining Richardson at Richmond.

Richard Simkiss, the second league executive dumped in the AFL affairs scandal, has been re-employed by mate and Crocmedia bigwig Craig Hutchinson.

Another AFL staffer was forced out last week over multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

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