Minister’s big call on Broncos’ top job
The Broncos will finalise their new chief executive this week, but it won't be Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones.
News Corp can reveal Jones is not in the running for the Broncos CEO's job with the highly-regarded politician breaking her silence to confirm she has not applied for the position to succeed Brisbane boss Paul White.
Jones last week announced she would be leaving politics on October 31 after a 14-year tenure, fuelling speculation it was perfect timing for the 41-year-old to transition to running the NRL's richest club.
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There were suggestions Jones, a Broncos fan, had blown Brisbane bosses away in her job interview, but the Queensland MP has set the record straight - revealing she was never a part of the hiring process.
"I haven't applied for the Broncos job," Jones said. "I'm a huge fan of the NRL and the Broncos and my family are season ticket holders with the club.
"But right now I have a lot to focus on with the upcoming election and I wish the Broncos well with their rebuilding of the club.
"My husband and myself will be supporting the Broncos from the stands, as we always do, next season."
It is understood some Broncos stakeholders had urged Jones to apply for the chief executive's role, believing her experience in politics was the ideal grounding for the cut and thrust of running an NRL club.
Broncos hierarchy also have great respect for Jones' achievements - she has served the past six years as tourism Minister - and view her as a future board member.
But she will not be White's successor, with the Broncos in the final stages of rubberstamping the chief executive to preside over their $52 million empire.
Respected media commentator and former Broncos premiership-winning pivot Ben Ikin is among the final five applicants and he underwent his second round of interviews last Thursday.
But Ikin is no certainty to clinch the job, worth about $700,000 annually, with the Broncos having interviewed a high-powered executive from one of Australia's top 50 companies.
Ikin has excellent football intelligence but there is a view he lacks the corporate expertise to call the shots at Queensland's sporting flagship.