Cameron Schwab

Strategic leader & CEO of Melbourne Football Club

Cameron Schwab is an outstanding business leader who transformed the fortunes of three AFL clubs – Richmond, Melbourne and Fremantle – over 25 years, both on and off the field. The youngest person in the game to be appointed CEO and the second longest serving in the role, his natural leadership talents, combined with strong academic qualifications, have seen him take on some of the sporting world’s most difficult and daunting challenges. In the process, he has established a track record of building teams and organisations, and unifying groups while navigating periods of genuine adversity and complexity.

With deep experience as a leader in professional sport and business, Cameron is a keynote speaker who draws on the potent parallels between business and sport to deliver powerful strategies for success, team building, change management and more. Sharing honest personal stories and real-life experiences, he delves into the deep challenges he has faced as a leader over the past 30 years. Audiences are left with practical, useful tools and frameworks he has developed from his many challenging leadership experiences.

More about Cameron Schwab:

After cutting his teeth as a recruiter at the Melbourne Football Club when the Demons made the finals for the first time in 23 years, Cameron was appointed CEO of the famous Richmond Football Club at age 24, the youngest in the history of the game.

For most of the next 25 years, he was CEO of Richmond, Melbourne and Fremantle, when those clubs were at their lowest ebb, both on and off the field.

A legacy-focused leader, Cameron bounced back from setback after setback to achieve outstanding success. The project he developed and executed called ‘Save Our Skin’ (SOS) saved Richmond from bankruptcy and was nominated as the club’s ‘Defining Moment of the Century’ at the 2008 Centennial Celebrations.

As CEO of Melbourne Football Club he unified a club that had almost merged with the Hawthorn Football Club the previous year. Melbourne went from last to top four in one year and was a Grand Finalist two years later, while operating profitably and growing attendances by 65%.

As CEO of (AFL’s official website), Cameron developed strategies for the inaugural sale of the online rights to Telstra, now one of the AFL’s most important assets.

As CEO of the Fremantle Football Club he transformed the entity from a loss making, debt laden club (that never placed higher than 12th) to a regular finalist, ranking in the top three AFL clubs in terms of profitability and resources. Revenue increased by 320% and the balance sheet improved by $13m.

Appointed again as Melbourne CEO in 2008, the Club posted a profit just 12 months later, having effectively lost $3m the previous trading year. Ongoing profitably enabled the club to extinguish $5m of debt and build an asset base of $6m. Revenue grew by 60% despite embedded strategic constraints.

Cameron’s articles on sport and leadership have been published in The Age newspaper. He holds an MBA and Master of Marketing from the Melbourne Business School, has completed the Advanced Management Program (AMP) at the Harvard Business School, and is a Vincent Fairfax Fellow of the Centre of Ethical Leadership at University of Melbourne. He received his Coaching Certification from the Columbia Business School in New York.

Cameron is also an artist and illustrator, studying Fine Art at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). His love for art inspires compelling creativity and originality in his storytelling and speaking. He explores the deep personal and professional challenges he faced as a leader, his openness, vulnerability and generosity creating a powerful connection with his audience, who will be reaching for their notebooks to record the insights and wisdom from a fully-lived leadership experience.

Cameron Schwab talks about:

The Score Takes Care of Itself – Aligning Purpose and Performance – Cameron delivers a game-changing framework that aligns purpose and performance, particularly as it relates to the complex mix of culture, strategy, leadership and decision-making judgment.

Being Brave – The Authentic, Vulnerable and Courageous leader – Cameron models his ‘Being Brave’ mantra – a seven-step process to find the answers for yourself, rebuild confidence, and be the leader you aspire to be.

Leadership is about the example you set and the culture you create – Cameron articulates four core leadership habits, immediately executable, to create the behaviours and culture to lead with authenticity and achieve high performance outcomes.

Leveling Up – What business can learn from professional team sport – Cameron explains a seven-step process, immediately executable, enabling leaders to establish performance accountability, where people consistently set high expectations of themselves and behave to those expectations, and most importantly, do the right thing, even when it’s hard.

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