Despite cheers in the centre of Melbourne the moment his resignation was official, Daniel Andrews is perfectly placed for a high-paid corporate gig after leaving politics.
The former Victorian Premier is a “champion footballer going out right at the top of his game”, according to PR guru Max Markson.
“He’ll be employed wherever he wants to work,” Mr Markson said.
There are perhaps no politicians in modern Australian history as polarising as Mr Andrews.
He won three successive state elections for Labor and delivered a raft of socially progressive changes but was harshly criticised by some for Melbourne’s long Covid lockdowns and sharply centralising power around the Premier’s office.
Asked if Mr Andrews’ divisive legacy would impact his future career, Mr Markson said “he does not need to give it a minute of thought”.
Instead, he will be lapping up lucrative corporate offers given the Mr Andrews gained leading the state through a “bloody tough time”, Mr Markson said.
“It (being premier) is not even great money!” Mr Markson laughed before saying the former Labor leader could be in line to make millions if he goes down the corporate path.
As a former premier, Mr Andrews is already eligible for an annual pension of $300,000 a year according to various reports.
“Corporate respect for Daniel Andrews is very high,” according to Mr Markson, who founded PR agency Markson Sparks! and has worked with everyone from Kim Kardashian to Nelson Mandela.
“You can’t knock him for leading for nine years.
“Now’s the time to do a proper job with proper people,” Mr Markson added, saying he thought Mr Andrews would be relieved to work in a space where he didn’t have to “battle” every day.
The sentiment was echoed by Mr Andrews himself when he declared “I think it highly unlikely that I’ll spend too much more time in the public sector” after announcing his resignation this week.
Where precisely Mr Andrews will end up next remains to be seen.
The now former Labor leader has several friends in high places, including Carlton Football Club president and former PwC Australia chief executive Luke Sayers and billionaire haulage magnate Lindsay Fox.
A step into the private sector would be a leap into the unknown for a man who has never worked outside politics.
Mr Andrews started out as an electorate officer before working his way to the top to become Victoria’s fourth longest-serving premier.
Leadership and decision-making are qualities that should only help Mr Andrews in the long run.
“He was divisive but also decisive – whether people liked that or not,” personal brand expert Sue Currie said.
When it comes to Mr Andrews’ own brand, Ms Currie said he should build on what worked for him during his time as premier.
“The North Face jacket persona, that worked for a while,” she said, citing the jacket that became a symbolic part of Mr Andrews’ marathon run of daily press conferences at the height of the pandemic.
“Whether wearing that was intentional or not, it helped him to become memorable to a much wider public than people of Victoria.
“He’s moved on from that image, but that casual/relaxed albeit smarter look could also work.”
The previous two Labor premiers, Steve Bracks and John Brumby, have gone onto powerful corporate positions before taking the posts of chancellor at Victoria University and La Trobe University respectively.
Mr Andrews’ own ambitions may extend beyond Australian shores.
During his time as premier he attracted controversy for two trips to China in 2016 and 2023.
The Big Apple could also be in his sights, with the Herald Sun reporting Mr Andrews has a longstanding interest in taking a job in New York as part of a “Danhattan” transition.
The sky’s the limit for the hated, adored but never ignored former leader, according to Mr Markson.
“Nine years as premier will stand him in good stead anywhere in the world,” he said.