Bill Pulver appointed as Australian Rugby Union CEO

by staff

Highly-regarded international business executive, Bill Pulver, has today been announced as the new Chief Executive Officer of Australian Rugby Union.

Mr Pulver, 53, will start in the role on 1 February following the resignation of John O’Neill AO, last October.

ARU Chairman, Michael Hawker AM, revealed the appointment at a Media Conference in Sydney and spoke to the impressive corporate background of an executive with significant global experience.

Mr Pulver has lived and worked in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia, across a diverse range of industries including media, research, internet, sports marketing and linguistics.

“The ARU Board was looking for a specific skill set and, benchmarking against those criteria, we have found the right man for the job,” said Mr Hawker.

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

“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.

“He has worked in Japan, the UK, the USA and Australia. His love of Rugby dates back to his school days and he has coached at the junior levels.

“Bill also has an impressive background as President and Chairman of significant Sports Marketing and internet media research companies.”

Mr Pulver maintains strong connections to grassroots Rugby, via the Mosman Junior Rugby Club in Sydney, while his second son Angus was the halfback in the 2012 Australian Schoolboys team.

A product of Shore School, Mr Pulver’s own Rugby career included GPS representation, followed by colts and grade Rugby for University of NSW.

Post-university, he started a 17-year career with global marketing research firm ACNielsen in Australia, rising to the role of Managing Director. He was later based in Tokyo as Group Chief Executive for Japan and Korea.

From 1999-2001, Mr Pulver moved to London as President of ACNielsen, an internet audience measurement operation.

Six years based in New York followed as President of the NASDAQ listed internet media and market research company NetRatings Inc.

From 2008 to 2010, Mr Pulver was Chairman of Repucom International, a global leader in sports marketing research.

His current position is CEO of Appen Butler Hill, a linguistic technology solutions company, where he will finish up at the end of January.

Looking ahead to his latest role in a highly successful corporate career, Mr Pulver said: “I feel privileged and excited to take up this role for the ARU and enter the world of Australian and international Rugby.

“For 20 years I have been a Chief Executive in a diverse range of industries and now I have the opportunity to focus my efforts on this great game, the game I love.

“Today there are many exciting investment opportunities that are capable of igniting growth in our game.

“However, the success of our financial model relies on a passionate and participative supporter base.

“In the short term the challenge for our team in the ARU headquarters is to work with all the game’s stakeholders to ensure Rugby in Australia powers forward as a unified and energised force.

“I would like to see the ARU as an innovative and profitable leader in a prosperous global Rugby community.

“To achieve this I feel there are several guiding principles we need to consider:

Never forget that we play a team sport for fun, fitness and friendship;

Acknowledge that in our game Character, Integrity and Team First are paramount;

Communicate & collaborate relentlessly with all stakeholders to ensure a united approach to achieving our objectives;

Support every effort in community Rugby to expand participation in the game, including a focus on encouraging the involvement of women;

Embrace Rugby Sevens as a major growth opportunity;

In a world where our supporters are distracted by an endless range of entertainment options, we must aim to constantly enhance our entertainment experience; and

Maintain a high performance culture to be the No. 1 team in the world.

“2013 is going to be a wonderful year for Australian Rugby with 14 Test matches scheduled for the Qantas Wallabies, including the British & Irish Lions, The Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship, the Bledisloe Cup and the Spring tour to Europe to wrap it all up.

“With tens of thousands of British and Irish tourists about to invade our shores for a very special event that occurs just once every 12 years, I urge all Australian supporters to purchase tickets for the entire family when they go on sale on Monday 18 February.

“Help make sure that the gold of our supporters outnumber the red army of the Lions’ fans at every game.”

Mr Pulver is married with four children.