Ray Gunston Age: Following the tragic passing of renowned former executive Ray Gunston, the father of Hawthorn player Jack, the AFL, Hawthorn, and Essendon are in grief. Gunston passed away from a heart attack on Tuesday morning. He was 64. His wife Mandy, son Jack, daughter Kate, and granddaughter Scarlett all survive him. He served as CFO and general manager of infrastructure, big projects, and investment at the AFL under Gillon McLachlan.
He had served as the AFL Investment Committee’s chair, presided over all non-operational investments and agreements, and directed capital planning and balance sheet structure for the league. During the club’s crisis in 2013, Gunston also served as acting chief executive at Essendon. Gunston had lately worked closely with the clubs on the league’s finance strategy, making him one of the major negotiators of the collective bargaining agreement with the AFL players. In a statement, McLachlan noted that during the time that Ray worked at AFL House, “Ray was an immensely valued member of the AFL leadership, with both his ability to lead and finish significant initiatives and for his strong values and ethical framework in how he conducted himself.”
“It was an honor to work with him and to consider both he and Mandy as friends. He was a wonderful mentor to a variety of executives in our field. “Ray was highly recognized in the industry; he was smart and tough. Because of his inability to say “yes,” he was known as “The Wall” at the AFL House. He had a legendary work ethic and lived off basic salads and bitten fingernails during the working day. The football community adored Ray, and at this awful time, our prayers are with Mandy, Jack, Kate, and their extended families.
Richard, Chairman of AFL, gave Gunston Honor
We shall never forget Ray’s commitment to football and the AFL. The purchase of Marvel Stadium and the creation of a credit facility during COVID, which assisted the industry in getting through it, were among his legacy accomplishments, according to the speaker. “Ray was also a proud footballing father. He frequently could not stay seated during Jack’s games for Adelaide and Hawthorn and was frequently seen roaming the stadium concourse.” Gunston joined the AFL in 2015 after serving as the Bombers’ interim CEO from 2013 until the club’s supplements crisis forced out then-CEO Ian Robson, but he did not take the post-full-time.
Gunston, a popular and esteemed member of the AFL’s executive team, brought a wealth of knowledge from his time as the Tatts Group’s chief financial officer and as a board member of other businesses, notably Sigma Healthcare. While clubs occasionally have contentious interactions with AFL executives and gripe about head office, disapproval of the calm and always reasonable Gunston was uncommon from clubs. A few years prior to his time as the Bombers’ interim CEO, he briefly served on the board of Essendon. He spent the majority of his career playing with Strathmore in the EDFL and spent three years with Brunswick in the VFA (1979-81).
He joined Strathmore in 1967 as a youngster and played on the 1984 championship squad. In 1989, he received life membership as a mark of honor. Paul Brasher, the president of Essendon, praised Gunston for his contributions to the team. According to Brasher, who spoke on the club’s website, “Ray was an incredibly well-qualified individual to lead the Essendon Football Club during a terrible moment.” “He gave the organization experienced guidance and a calming leadership style at a time when it was most required. He will be remembered at our club for the sound stability and direction he offered during this time.
“He was a fantastic friend to many members of our club”
As the parents of triple-premiership forward Jack Gunston, Gunston and his wife Mandy were well-liked by the Hawthorn leadership, who also admired him for his honorable and quiet manner. In a statement, Hawthorn expressed how genuinely upset the club was by the news. According to the Hawks, “He was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather who never missed one of Jack’s matches.” He was a significant member of the Hawthorn family, and we are praying for Mandy, Jack, Kate, and their loved ones.
Gillon McLachlan’s tribute to Ray Gunston reads as follows:
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan paid tribute to Gunston, who was dubbed “The Wall” at AFL House because of his refusal to accept invitations. According to McLachlan, he subsisted on simple salads and bit his fingernails all day long. Ray was “a highly respected member of the AFL Executive” while he was employed at AFL House, according to McLachlan, “both for his ability to lead and accomplish important initiatives and for his strong beliefs and ethical framework in how he acted himself.” It was an honor for me to work with him and to call both Mandy and him friends. A variety of professionals in our sector recognized him as a mentor.
When Bombers CEO Ian Robson departed mid-season in May 2013, at the height of the supplements crisis, Gunston was hastily hired by the team. He was instrumental in the club’s decision to accept the AFL’s punishment for bringing the sport into disrepute and assisted in overseeing the appointment of Mark Thompson as the team’s coach for the 2014 season. Gunston joined the AFL as the general manager of corporate, large projects, and finance in July 2015. He was once the chief financial officer of the Tatts Group.
Gunston is frequently referred to as a “sharp-shooter” because of his reputation for being extremely accurate when kicking for a goal from predetermined shots. A straight drop-ball is the main part of his “extremely balanced, systematic set-shot routine,” according to reports. By converting 82.5 percent of his set shots over the previous two seasons, Gunston had the highest conversion rate of the top 50 goal-kickers in the competition by the end of the 2013 campaign.
In a statement after Ray Gunston’s Passing
The head of the AFL Commission, Richard Goyder, also lauded Gunston for the job he did at league headquarters. His “legacy contributions” include “purchasing Marvel Stadium and establishing a credit facility during Covid that helped the industry get through it.” stated Goyder. “Ray was a proud father who played football. During Jack’s games for Adelaide and Hawthorn, he frequently struggled to stay seated and could be seen wandering the stadium concourse.
Gunston also held executive positions with Southern Cross Austereo, the Victorian Government, Westpac, Price Waterhouse, and the Aluminium Smelters of Victoria. He was the chairman and a non-executive director of Sigma Pharmaceuticals, Hotel Property Investments, and Melbourne Stadiums Limited. He also held non-executive directorships with both AFL Victoria and the Melbourne Renegades. Hawthorn released a statement late on Tuesday night offering its condolences to the Gunston family and recognizing Ray’s important contributions to the team.
He was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather who never missed one of Jack’s games. Our prayers are with Mandy, Jack, Kate, and their families during this terrible time because he was a key member of the Hawthorn family. 2017 got off to a bad start for Gunston, who failed to score many goals. Gunston was shifted into the backline, where he considerably improved his play, as a result of both this and the significant number of injuries sustained by Hawthorn’s main defenders.