Michael O’Brien’s chief of staff is leaving his job by mutual agreement following an internal review of the Opposition Leader’s office in the lead up to the November 2022 state election.

In an email to colleagues on Friday, Mr O’Brien confirmed Brett Hogan had been appointed to a new policy role within the Victorian Liberal Party.

Victorian Liberal leader Michael O’Brien his removed his chief of staff Brett Hogan from the role.Credit:Scott McNaughton

In his new role Mr Hogan will work on the party’s policy platform and help prepare the opposition for office, should the Coalition win the state election.

Mr Hogan’s departure follows a review of the functioning of Mr O’Brien’s office by former Liberal Party federal director Brian Loughnane, first revealed by The Age.

Mr Hogan joined Mr O’Brien’s office in December 2018 following the Liberal Party’s disastrous state election loss. He had previously worked for Liberal ministers Peter Reith and Louise Asher and at conservative think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.

Mr O’Brien, who remained loyal to his chief of staff, praised Mr Hogan for his experience and commitment to the Liberal Party.

“Brett knows – as do I – that good policy is not only good politics, it is essential to a program for the type of reformist Liberal government that Victoria needs, and we are determined to be. He will continue to be key to our campaign to win government and rescue Victoria,” Mr O’Brien said.

"I am delighted that in his new role I will continue to have access to Brett’s wise counsel and sharp political acumen."

In March, Mr O’Brien staved off a challenge to his leadership when only nine out of 31 party members voted for leadership contender Brad Battin. At the time Liberal MPs told The Age they were concerned about Mr Hogan, who they said was working in isolation from the wider party.

Seven MPs confirmed to The Age in May that they had raised internal problems stemming from Mr O’Brien’s office, citing poor communication and difficulties when trying to get meetings for stakeholders and would-be donors.

Liberal MPs have interpreted Mr Hogan’s departure as an attempt by Mr O’Brien to sharpen his strategy and potentially stave off another challenge to his leadership.

Before working for Mr O’Brien, he served as deputy chief of staff to former opposition leader Matthew Guy.

Mr Hogan will continue in the role until a replacement is found.

As part of the office shake-up, Mr O’Brien confirmed that Channel 7 chief football reporter Mark Stevens would take on the role of media manager and Alex Woff, a former staffer for Liberal frontbencher David Southwick, would join the office as a media adviser.

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