Jones the only casualty of Brumbies drama

Tue, 03/05/2016, 06:00 am
Beth Newman
by Beth Newman

Brumbies CEO Michael Jones will be the only casualty of the club’s recent off-field dispute, after departing the club this week.

Jones finished up with the Brumbies on Monday, after his settlement ending a month-long saga that began with an explosive radio interview by the outgoing CEO.

Jones was appointed by the current board just over a year ago, and as CEO was also a director, but chairman Robert Kennedy said the board would seek to learn from its recent mistakes.

“I think there’s a lot of lessons to be learnt,” he said.

“I wouldn’t comment specifically on those now. There’s been a lot of those and ourselves and our voting members will be sitting down over the next few months to really evaluate those and fix those so the organisation can be in a much stronger position going forward.

Kennedy couldn’t legally disclose the details of Jones’s settlement or the reason for standing him down, but said he was confident the Brumbies were able to cover all of the costs incurred without a handout from the ARU.

“We’ve been through that in the last few days since striking the deal, I can confirm that we are financially viable,” he said.

Kennedy said the Brumbies would be embarking on an “extensive search” for their next CEO, which Kennedy estimated could take up to six months, with community rugby general manager Craig Leseberg stepping up in the short-term.

Kennedy also confirmed that recent workplace action reportedly taken by Jones against Stephen Moore and Scott Fardy was “finished”.

“I met the management team last night and the Brumbies organisation takes any workplace harassment claims and things very seriously and deals with them,” he said.

“I’m confident they’ve been fully dealt with and they’re finished.”

The Brumbies hope they can focus on rugby again. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyWhile Jones is gone, the Brumbies are still subject to an AFP investigation surrounding a report Jones said, in the interview that kick started the saga, could irreparably damage the club.

Kennedy said the franchise would continue to cooperate with any police investigations.

ARU CEO Bill Pulver was in Canberra to offer any assistance to the Brumbies and expressed his confidence in the board and the way they had handled the drama.

“I think it was a very difficult issue,” he said.

“In 20 years of professional rugby, the Brumbies have been one of the standout organisations over that entire 20-year period.

“It’s been a tough one and everyone would acknowledge that.

“I’m not sure anyone could have handled it more effectively.

“We’re very pleased with how they’ve dealt with it and  we’re very happy now that it’s behind us.”

The Brumbies’ CEO turnover means three Super Rugby clubs will take on three CEOs this year, with the Waratahs recently appointing former Ospreys boss Andrew Hore, and the Reds looking for a new head honcho after Jim Carmichael flagged his resignation, to come at the end of 2016.

Now the focus turns to the rugby for the Brumbies, with the side facing a must-win clash against the Bulls on Friday night in Canberra.


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