ARU integrity boss named interim Brumbies CEO

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

ARU integrity manager Phil Thomson is set to serve as the Brumbies interim CEO, as they begin the search for a new permanent boss.

The former police detective was a long-time Wallabies team manager, before heading up ARU integrity for the first time in 2014.

Brumbies chairman Rob Kennedy said the move would enable current leaders to do their jobs without having to shoulder any extra burden, amid reports that coach Stephen Larkham was taking on player contracting after the departure of Michael Jones.

Kennedy said Thomson was an obvious choice for the role.

“He has an impeccable reputation in the game locally, nationally and internationally. He is a safe pair of hands and exactly what we need given the recent turbulence in our organisation," he said.

“At the professional level, we need Stephen Larkham dedicating all of his attention to coaching the team."

Phil Thomson was Wallabies team manager from 2001-2010. Photo: Getty ImagesBefore Thomson's appointment, Brumbies general manager of community rugby Craig Leseberg was holding down the position, but Kennedy said this would relieve him of the extra responsibilities.

"Craig Leseberg and (commercial operations manager) Simon Chester have important full-time roles in community rugby and on the commercial pillars of the business, so I’m sure they will value being able to draw on Phil’s experience in the game.” 

“The Board has enjoyed tremendous support from Bill Pulver and the ARU board over the last few weeks. Their offer and our acceptance of Phil Thomson’s services is much appreciated”.

Thomson, who grew up in Canberra, worked in the Australian Federal Police for 14 years in the city and was Brumbies team manager from 1996-2001, said he wanted to bring stability to the club, an element that is sorely needed after a tumultuous month of off-field drama.

“My focus is to offer some stability and guidance to staff and key stakeholders.  A key part of my role will be to work with the executive team to manage the day to day operations of the organisation and bring the Rugby community together as we move towards the back-end of the Super Rugby season and look towards 2017,” he said.

When announcing Jones's departure last week, Kennedy said the search for a long-term CEO would take up to six months, with the club keen to end the revolving door of club bosses that the Brumbies have seen in the past three years.