Football Federation Australia (FFA) confirmed the appointment of James Johnson as its new chief executive officer on Friday.
Johnson, most recently the senior vice-president of external affairs with the City Football Group (CFG), is replacing David Gallop as chief and will begin in the role in January.
He has previously held positions with FIFA – as head of professional football and senior manager member associations – and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) as director of international relations and development.
"Having run a domestic and international executive search, and in a strong field of candidates, we have no doubt James is the right person for the role. We are thrilled that he is coming back to Australia at this important time for the game," FFA chairman Chris Nikou said in a statement.
"Football is in James' soul. He has demonstrated that he is a collaborative leader and team player and brings global and local experience and networks to the FFA. Importantly he also understands the importance of developmental pathways and the grassroots of the code having on the ground experience representing Australia as a member of the 1999 U-17 'Joeys' national team and having risen through the ranks of football in Queensland in the 1990s.
"He is one of the few leaders in the sport who has spent his playing and executive career within the various stakeholder groups associated with football and in this time of change we think that matters.
"James has inarguably made a meaningful contribution to the code globally. A lawyer by training, throughout his executive career, James has been at the centre of many major industry negotiations, managing multi-stakeholder situations and projects including currently representing Manchester City Football Club [MCFC] within the Union of European Football Associations [UEFA] and European Clubs Association [ECA] bodies in the ongoing reforms to the competition format, match calendar, financial distribution model and qualification pathway to the UEFA Champions League.
"In 2016, James received international recognition when Leaders™ listed him as one of its 'Leaders under 40' across all sports. He is also considered as having played a meaningful role in supporting the global leagues to form the World Leagues Forum."