Hawthorn name Kennett's AFL successor

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Jeff Kennett's eventful second stint as Hawthorn's AFL president will finally come to an end later this year with the Hawks naming his successor.

Peter Nankivell, who has served as Hawthorn's vice-president for the last five years, will step into the top position at the club's general meeting in December.

Kennett praised the choice of Nankivell, who did not nominate for the role but was urged to reconsider when a committee was unable to find a suitable new candidate.

"It is wonderful when succession of an organisation can come from within," Kennett said.

"This will ensure that the momentum behind important initiatives on and off the field can be maintained and nurtured.

"Peter has a deep knowledge of the club and, at this time, has been found to be the most appropriate person to lead the club's future development and activities.

"Importantly, Peter has a value set that will continue to build our family club ethos.

"I thank the members of the nominations committee for the many meetings and hours of work they have contributed in the interest of the club."

Kennett, the outspoken former Victorian premier, first served as Hawthorn president between 2005 and 2011.

During that period, he changed the club's constitution so that Hawthorn presidents could only serve two three-year terms.

But Kennett returned to become president in 2017, taking over from Richard Garvey after he received criticism for the appointment of chief executive Tracey Gaudry, who lasted just five months in the job.

Kennett has come under-fire a number of times, often from other Hawthorn people.

The 74-year-old received heavy criticism for his handling of Hawthorn's botched coaching succession plan, when premiership mastermind Alastair Clarkson was replaced by Hawks legend Sam Mitchell.

Clarkson was pushed out after 17 seasons in charge when rival clubs came hunting for Mitchell last year to potentially become their senior coach.

Four-time premiership star Cyril Rioli earlier this year spoke out against the Hawks, saying race-related incidents contributed to his decision to call it quits from the AFL prematurely.

Rioli and his wife made it clear they will not return to Hawthorn while Kennett remains in charge.

Kennett said last month he has since been in touch with Rioli a "number of times" and the pair are "moving in the right direction".

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