Penrith Panthers Head of Rugby League Justin Pascoe has dramatically resigned to take up the top job at the embattled Wests Tigers.
The Panthers were not commenting on Mr Pascoe’s departure when approached for comment by the Weekender this morning but confirmed the news this afternoon.
In a short statement, the club said: “Panthers Head of Rugby League Justin Pascoe has tendered his resignation effective immediately. Panthers has accepted his resignation and wish Justin the best in his future endeavours. The club will be making no further comment at this time.”
Mr Pascoe’s departure follows the resignation of Chairman Don Feltis six weeks ago.
He will not start in his role at the Tigers until November but will watch closely as the club tries to overcome the Robbie Farah contract drama.
Penrith fans and officials may well be concerned that Mr Pascoe, who was only promoted to his current role at the Panthers a year ago, was courting a position at the Tigers while dealing with Penrith’s immediate and future plans.
It is understood that senior Panthers officials only became aware of Mr Pascoe’s possible departure to the Tigers when it was reported by Fairfax Media on Tuesday. He was left with no other option but to leave immediately.
The Tigers made it clear tonight that the process to appoint Mr Pascoe was a long one.
“We undertook an exhaustive search to find the best candidate for this position and were incredibly impressed with Justin throughout the entire process,” said Wests Tigers Chair, Marina Go.
“Justin’s experience both here in Australia and overseas across a number of positions means that he brings a unique set of skills to Wests Tigers and we look forward to him joining the Club and working with us to achieve the lofty goals set out in our Strategic Plan.”
Less than three hours after his resignation from Penrith was confirmed, Mr Pascoe was talking up the Tigers.
“I’m impressed by the innovative and unified approach of the current Board in its direction to ensure this Club is in a position where it becomes sustainable off the field and competitive on the field consistently,” he said.
“I believe that as an organisation Wests Tigers has the potential to engage with its fans, develop commercial strategies and apply business principles that will differentiate it from all its competitors and create a strong and inclusive culture that builds an enviable sports organisation.”
Prior to his role as Head of Rugby League, Mr Pascoe led Penrith’s commercial sponsorship team.
Earlier this year the Panthers paid for Mr Pascoe to go on a fact-finding mission to the USA.
– Troy Dodds