Cronulla have appointed club legend Barry Russell over an AFL import to replace former chief executive Lyall Gorman.
Russell famously claimed the Rothman's Medal as the NSWRL's best-and-fairest award over teammate Gavin Miller when the Sharks won the minor premiership in 1988.
They were eventually bundled out one game short of a shot at a maiden premiership, and had to wait another 28 years before winning their first trophy in a united competition.
"I have a deep understanding and passion for our club and its proud history," Russell said in a statement on Thursday.
"I look forward to representing our board, community, members and fans in building our great club into the best in the NRL on and off the field."
Russell played 77 games for Cronulla at halfback before retiring in 1991 and working at the club as a junior development officer.
He had a similar in his 12 years at the NRL.
His most recent post was as Harvey Norman commercial sales manager, but beat a shortlist that included former Carlton boss Steven Trigg.
Sharks chairman Dino Mezzatesta described Russell, who will officially begin his duties in early March, as the clear standout candidate.
"We had many worthy and highly qualified applicants for the position," Mezzatesta said.
"However Barry's business background, knowledge of the NRL and his commercial expertise, not to mention his enthusiasm and love of the Cronulla club, made him a standout amongst the candidates."