Rugby Australia have announced the appointment of Hamish McLennan as a director and chairman-elect on the same day the governing body secured much-needed funding from World Rugby.
McLennan, who replaced Peter Wiggs who resigned last week, will be officially welcomed to the board at their June 15 meeting. He will be the body’s third chairman in 2020 after Cameron Clyne stood down and Paul McLean stepped in to perform the role on a short-term basis.
McLennan chairs several ASX-listed companies and his former corporate roles include CEO, executive chairman and managing director of free-to-air television Network Ten and executive vice-president, Office of the Chairman at News Corp.
“Hamish’s appointment marks a new era as we reset Rugby Australia and our game with a focus on the future,” McLean said.
“He brings exceptional commercial skills and experience in leading some of the largest and most successful businesses in the country.
“Hamish is also a lifelong rugby man and is passionate about uniting the game and bringing all of its diverse and enthusiastic stakeholders together to drive the game forward.”
Meanwhile, the long-awaited funding boost from World Rugby landed at Rugby Australia today in the form of a $AUD14.2 million low-interest loan from the game’s global governing body.
With Rugby AU in a precarious financial position amid the coronavirus pandemic, the care package from World Rugby will provide some much-needed financial security for the game in Australia.
“Our game has suffered an enormous impact globally from COVID-19 and we are very grateful for the support of World Rugby and commend them on their leadership in managing this issue for the global game,” interim Rugby AU CEO Rob Clarke said.
“The financial implications of the virus have been significant for Rugby Australia and this emergency relief funding will provide us with certainty for the next twelve months and enable us to close off our 2019 accounts.
“The funding, in combination with the extensive cuts made across the business, provides us with the short-term impetus to see through the pandemic but does not solve all of the challenges.”