In recent years, the Baggies have relied on a head coach and a technical director to identity transfer targets and bring them into the club.
Gourlay, though, is working to install a 'football board' at The Hawthorns that will see all key decisions made by committee instead of just two individuals.
The board comprises of himself and the manager as well as medical, financial and administrative experts.
But the role of director of football operations is similar to a technical director and will be key in identifying transfer targets at home and abroad.
"We are getting closer but we have to get the right people into the club," Gourlay said when asked how the hunt for the director of football operations is going.
"We have got a shortlist and we have started the process. But you are looking at people who are on six, nine even 12 months notice.
"That is why we decided to go with what we had but it’s a role we will definitely fill.
"We need it because over the last few weeks I have been CEO and sporting director and it’s incredibly time consuming.
"But by this time next year we will definitely have a director of football operations in place and who is ready to act for the summer window.
"Whether it will be before the January window, I’m not sure."
Since forming the football board – Gourlay has had three key positions he's been looking recruit for.
They are director of football administration and director of medical alongside director of football operations.
And the club filled the first post earlier this week when Tony Strudwick was appointed medical director.
"The head of football operations, which most people will see as a sporting director, is one key role," Gourlay added.
"I have another role – director of football administration – which is getting a super secretary if you like who manages the whole process for the club.
"The other position is director of medical services which is a very important role because we had too many injuries last season.
"With our assets, if we don’t get them on the field then we are not getting the benefit of them. We struggled with a number of injuries last season so I’ve restructured it."