ARU CEO role dream come true: Pulver

By James MacSmith, James MacSmith is a Roar Guru

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    Having endured a living nightmare, Bill Pulver – the father of hoax collar bomb victim Madeleine – says his appointment as chief executive of the Australian Rugby Union is a dream come true.

    Pulver declared himself the “luckiest man alive” after being unveiled as the code’s new boss on Wednesday.

    “I’m 53-years-old and I think I have finally discovered what I think I want to do with my life,” he said.

    “For the past 20 years I have been a CEO working in a diverse range of industries and now I feel very privileged to be taking on the role of CEO of the game I love.

    “I feel today like I am the luckiest man alive … I’m now a leading administrator of the game they play in heaven. I’m simply delighted to have the opportunity to play a role.

    “In a way I feel partly that it is a civic duty. My love of rugby is so deep that I’m just so excited about playing a role in allowing the game to develop.

    “It is a dream of mine come true.”

    The multi-million dollar businessman only touched on the horrors his family endured after a balaclava-clad Paul Douglas Peters broke into his family’s Mosman home in August 2011 and placed what he claimed was a collar bomb around the neck of Madeleine.

    In November Peters was sentenced to at least 10 years jail for the crime.

    The case created headlines worldwide but Pulver said he was not deterred from the profile and scrutiny which will come in his new role – one of the most high profile and demanding in Australian sport.

    “My family are all rugby tragics,” he said.

    “You will regularly see the entire Pulver family out watching the rugby … so they are probably at home watching this licking their lips with excitement.

    “Rugby is a subject we will all be happy to talk about.”

    ARU chairman Michael Hawker, a former schoolmate and teammate of Pulver’s at the exclusive Sydney private school Shore, welcomed the appointment.

    “We wanted someone with proven commercial success at CEO level, with international business experience and a love of rugby,” Hawker said.

    “The board also set priorities around good communication skills and an understanding of the world of sports marketing and media.

    “Bill has all those attributes. He has enjoyed success in large and small businesses, through growth cycles and tough times.”

    Pulver moved quickly to allay any doubts over the future of embattled Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.

    “To be absolutely clear … Robbie will be coaching the Wallabies right through 2013,” he said.

    He also moved to put the Quade Cooper saga, highlighted by claims of a “toxic environment” under Deans, behind the ARU.

    Pulver said he would not be discussing the issue with the Wallabies playing group in a planned meeting with them in his first month in charge.

    Pulver will officially take over from current ARU CEO John O’Neill on February 1.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (46)

    • January 10th 2013 @ 7:00am
      adrian lister said | January 10th 2013 @ 7:00am | ! Report

      Mr Pulver seems like a capable fellow with proven leadership (thats what’s most important in terms of skill set) and business credentials. I just hope his vision for supporting and growing Australian rugby stretches west of Concord to Western Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, particularly at schoolboy and Tier 3 levels. The GPS ‘old school tie’ culture is very strong and from my experience people immersed and developed within that environment have in the past show an inability to think beyond the ‘traditional’ culture of Australian rugby. Our game is being swamped by AFL and Soccer – we need to start fighting back with a bold development vision driven by $ that will flow from this year’s big B & IL tour. Good luck Sir I hope you can achieve this.

      • January 10th 2013 @ 8:02am
        hog said | January 10th 2013 @ 8:02am | ! Report

        Totally agree, if rugby does not expand beyond the northern suburbs of Sydney it will always be a niche sport in aus

        • January 10th 2013 @ 11:47am
          Cattledog said | January 10th 2013 @ 11:47am | ! Report

          ‘…if rugby does not expand beyond the northern suburbs of Sydney it will always be a niche sport in aus…’ You guys need to look beyond Sydney where rugby is developing well, all things considered. Sort out the clowns at the NSWRU IOT see rugby grow beyond the North Shore. Pulver and the ARU have bigger fish to fry than anything NSW centric.

    • January 10th 2013 @ 9:25am
      Worlds Biggest said | January 10th 2013 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      I think the consensus with Pulvers appointment is one of scepticism. Sure highly capable guy but he seems more JON/ Hawker which means more of the same. Carmichael was the man they should have gone after and appointed.

    • January 10th 2013 @ 10:19am
      JAJI said | January 10th 2013 @ 10:19am | ! Report

      I cant see Rugby Escaping its lower North Shore Angle by appointing someone with no sporting background who is wealthy and lives in Mosman and is heavily involved with Shore. This just wont appeal to the rest of the country save for the usual Rugby haunts….

      • January 10th 2013 @ 11:05am
        AGO74 said | January 10th 2013 @ 11:05am | ! Report

        Maybe rugby should just focus on that. Seriously – rugby’s window has passed. It had the opportunity to become something bigger following a high profile period from 2000-2005, but it couldn’t sustain it. There are many reasons for this, but having failed to do so – most prominently – on the back of a Rugby World Cup, I cannot see any possible option for rugby to break out again like it had to the possibility to break out from its traditional enclaves in that 2000-2005 period.

        • January 10th 2013 @ 12:25pm
          Hernando said | January 10th 2013 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

          AGO74 I have to agree with your initial statement however there is definitely scope for expansion provided the foundations are are no longer neglected.

          One the most disappointing aspects of the past 3-7 years has been the ARU seemingly distancing itself from its exisitng nurseries and infrastructure in favour of the elite. One of Pulver’s first orders of business should be reconnecting to and reinvigorating the club, country and school comps that are currently under threat of being swamped by AFL (I say AFL because, in reality, it is the new kid on the block and most aggressive).

          This needs to be driven in conjunction with and through the state unions by addressing;
          – The AFL incursion into the traditional rugby playing schools and traditional junior rugby nurseries;
          – The re-establishment of representative pathways (ex Super Rugby) for the next level club and country players… This could involve bringing back City vs.Country, setting up a Champions League style comp for the top 2 or 3 teams from the Shute Shield, Hospitals Cup and John I Dent Cup or it could be a newly created regional rep comp covering all of Australia;
          – The player payment/contract debacle… I think most would agree that players are being paid too much considering that the ARU and Unions are often locked up paying out contracts for injured or underperforming players. My belief is that players should be paid on appearances with other incentives such a winning games or captaining the team. They should also be allowed to individually seek further pay through sanctioned endorsements/sponsorships. If RUPA want to argue over pay it should be based solely on the per match payment that every player receives at whichever level that they are playing or who can be endorsed by whom. This would remove the parasitic player agents and promote a more natural player life cycle… not empathetic but pragmatic to the point that budgeting for the ARU would become a whole lot clearer enabling the decision makers to allocate funds the areas that need those funds and not have it tied up in protracted negiotiations with the Quade Coopers of the world.

          Once these key areas are sorted, only then expansion into rival codes’ territories can or should be considered. As a best guess scenario, that’s roughly 3-5 years just to get back to where the code was after the ’03 RWC.

    • Roar Guru

      January 10th 2013 @ 11:14am
      B-Rock said | January 10th 2013 @ 11:14am | ! Report

      Lets give the bloke a chance before we condemn him because of a school he went to 30yrs ago or how much money he has.

      He is an experienced leader and hopefully has the skills to set the ship right.

      The reality is none of us Roarers have a clue what he is capable of unless we have done business with him in the past.

      • January 10th 2013 @ 11:45am
        Justin2 said | January 10th 2013 @ 11:45am | ! Report

        Look I agree that we need to give him a chance and you are right we have no idea about him in reality except what we read.

        I just hope to hell he is concerned for the game across the country is not influenced just on and by the traditional heartlands. The game in this country needs to be turned on its head to close the gap on the other major football codes. He needs to act fairly swiftly, introduce new and exciting initiatives that will grow the game and challenge the thinking of the past.

        I look at the Reds and hope he can do the same as Carmichael and his team have for a Union that was deep in sh$t a few years ago. Now they are or should be the envy of the rest of the franchises in AUS.

        • January 10th 2013 @ 12:35pm
          kingplaymaker said | January 10th 2013 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

          What would you suggest Justin as I seem to remember in the past you were an advocate of the Western Sydney Super team prospect? Aside from the line given by many that playing that playing exciting Super rugby will magically turn rugby into the dominant football code.

          • January 10th 2013 @ 7:55pm
            Justin2 said | January 10th 2013 @ 7:55pm | ! Report

            Your memory fails you then KPM.

    • January 10th 2013 @ 11:43am
      Johnno said | January 10th 2013 @ 11:43am | ! Report

      SO many challenges and issues for Bill Pulver to deal with , one go on and on, but here are some:
      And I hope Bill Pulver who is base don the north shore and has lived there a lot of his life realises this.

      As ultimately sydney’s north shore, a rugby heartland, and junior clubs like the Mosman rugby club, says it all , are not the real heartland’s of junior sport in OZ, and are in no way a good example of the actual health of the game in the rest of Australia.

      -No 3rd tier comp like the currie cup or the NPC
      -No elite under-20 comp, the effort at last years under-20 comp should be a wake up call

      -Super rugby expansion should be looked at for 2016, build the base invest in new markets junior pathways etc. eg west sydney,Adelaide, gold coast, newcastle,

      -Small market. Pockets of private schools of sydney , brisbane, and canberra, and a few leagues, are simply not enough talent pools to draw your talent from, you need to expand those markets, in 22 million OZ population, if you are going to be competitive, in a very competitive and tough sporting landscape.

      -No FTA tv deal for super rugby should be looked at too.

      -Allow more super rugby foreign improts. 5 per squad. Fans want to see th best players in the world don’t care if local or foreign.
      A-league allows 5 improts per team, NRL allows unlimited.
      French rugby allows a lot more. Imports too, broaden local players rugby experience, as it broadens the rugby education , beyond just local culture. And bums on seats, and higher tv ratings $$$$, and higher playing standard, and good for wallaby player welfare, as more good improts eg Gareth Delve types, can help rotate the star wallabies to stay fresh, without then compromising playing standard on inferior locals not good enough for super rugby.

      -More has to be done to get rugby into the middle class, and lower middle class areas like AFL basketball,cricket, rugby league, and soccer do,

      -To me the wallabies are not the worry, they are the end product, that is well resourced. It is the gap between the pro rugby, and the grassroots junior rugby programs that is the big worry, the disconnection between pro rugby and community amateur and junior rugby in other words. Not enough elite pathways alignment opportunities, to get to the top in OZ rugby .
      More expansion and oppurtunities, .

      Otherwise rugby will lose more market share in OZ. And become more and more like a niche sport in OZ, if it is not already.
      And be like sports like Water Polo, Volleyball, and field hockey , in popularity .

      -These sports are along way , from AFL, rugby league, soccer, basketball, and cricket in popularity.

      I hope rugby doesn’t fad or slip out from public consciousness more and more, to levels like water polo,volleyball, and field hockey.

      It will become like them if it doesn’t change, with it’s strategies in Australia

    • January 10th 2013 @ 12:22pm
      levelheaded said | January 10th 2013 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

      Amazing sensationist comments – it appears many of year simply believe what you read in the papers. Yes times are tough in Rugby, but they are not catastrophic! We are actually going through growing pains in exapnding our professional game to other markets. Some gain, some don’t in this process, but it will take time. 7’s in the Olympics will evolve our great game – the chance to wear an Olympic medal will make a significant step forward for particpation in the sport and it will help the 15 aside game. Watch the rollout of school sport prgrams, girls wanting to play and showing an interest, it will evolve and more fans will want to sit in the grandstand and watch all forms of the game. all this other rubbish about we need to be on free to air, seriously I was hoping there were some more commercially savvy supporters out there. Why do you think the sport isn’t? It’s because they don’t want it enough yet!!!We need to focus on evolving technoligies and execute more effectively there. Lastly if you are a fan of the game, it is ok to be constructive, but bottom line support it. Don’t get personal, sick of the attacks against NSWRU and co. Put your money where your mouth is and either continue to actively promote the game in the community, attend Super Rugby and Test matches. You don’t think long term suffers of AFL CLubs carry on like this do you? They don’t and a reason why they are successful! We need more Union in Rugby and stop this tall poppy nonsense.

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