Pulver putting rugby before CEO re-appointment

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman
ARU CEO Bill Pulver says he won't be seeking another long-term deal when his reappointment comes up in 2018, but remains committed to the cause.

Pulver can move for re-appointment in February next year, after five years in the role, but said he would stand aside if it benefitted the game.

While Pulver has made some positive moves in his tenure, he has divided many parts of the rugby community with his stance on club rugby funding and his tenure will undoubtedly be tarred by the imminent axing of either the Force and the Rebels just 18 months after Australia agreed to Super Rugby expansion.

“The Australian rugby community, I acknowledge there’s a lot of heartache out there and believe me if I thought stepping aside would advantage Australian rugby in any sense at all, I would do it in a heartbeat,” he said to media on Monday.
“I promise you I’m here for the game and that’s the only reason. I’m not a professional administrator, I will do one job in my life and that’s in rugby.”
Pulver has overseen a tumultuous time in Australian rugby, with the Wallabies reaching a World Cup final but general interest waning, in a broader global trend.

His tenure will be hard to judge immediately, with moves to cut a Super Rugby team and redistribute funding decisions that won’t truly be felt until years down the track.
While he hinted he would seek reappointment, Pulver confirmed he wouldn’t be seeking another long-term agreement.

“I’ve had a discussion with the board and I am here totally at the whim of the board,” he said.

“As long as the board has confidence in me, I will remain.

“The minute they lose confidence in me, I will happily step aside. I love the game, I think the game has some challenges, I’m committed to addressing them and I will stay for as long as I can make contribution.

“I came in initially on a five-year agreement, I’m not going to seek another five-year agreement.

“I will basically continue to work for the board for as long as they and I feel I can make a constructive contribution.”
ARU chairman Cameron Clyne said at this point, there was no move from the board to end Pulver’s reign.

“Bill’s in an incredibly challenging job and it’s very easy to target Bill but there are some serious governance challenges in our game,” he said.

“Bill’s made an enormous contribution and a lot the things we’ve achieved, extraordinary achievements made in the last five years tend to sort of get washed over and to focus on some other areas of concern.

“Whatever point Bill and the board decide he transitions out, you want to make sure your successor’s set up for success and I think we need to make sure we see some changes to the way the game is governed to make the success.

“It’s fair to say we have achieved a lot at the international table, and in SANZAAR, which has benefited Australian rugby because of Bill’s diligence in rebuilding some relationships that were pretty badly burned prior to his arrival.

“That alone has benefitted Australian rugby enormously. It doesn’t get seen but I can tell you we see the benefit, the impact of that.”

ARU COO Rob Clarke might seem the obvious successor for Pulver, but News Limited reports have him on the radar of Sailing Australia, after the former Rebels and Brumbies boss returned to the ARU in 2014.

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