Brumbies CEO Thomson steps down

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

Brumbies CEO Michael Thomson is stepping down after less than two years in the job, satisfied with the position the ACT organisation is in.

Thomson took over as CEO in January 2017 after a tumultuous period for the club under the helm of Michael Jones and was signed to a three-year contract to run until 2020.

He will be replaced by chairman Phil Thomson, who served in an interim role ahead of Michael Thomson's initial appointment in 2016, making him the sixth CEO since 2012.

Under Michael Thomson's reins, the Brumbies are expected to turn a profit for the second year in a row - the first time that has happened in a decade.

The outgoing Thomson, who will officially finish his role on October 19, told RUGBY.com.au he felt the club had turned around far quicker than he had imagined when he took the job.

"I’ve been with the organisation on and off for over four years in previous stints...but we are further down the track than I had thought we would be, we've had things go a little bit better than I thought we would," he said.

"You take a job because you want to achieve certain things and I feel like I’ve achieved the majority of the things I was hoping to achieve to the organisation."

Thomson took the reins after a messy year for the Brumbies in which they were locked in a court battle against his predecessor Jones and has turned the organisation into a profitable one in just two years.

Michael Jones will stay Brumbies CEO for now. Photo: Getty Images"When I started two years ago there was a real concern about stabilising the organisation and (asking) how do we get it to a good spot?," he said.

"I spent the last two seasons doing that and we’re in a pretty solid place now, we're probably going to turn another profit, participation up by 7 per cent, the squad is almost finalised for next year and the coaching team finalised for next year.

"We've got a good board that works well, got a strong management team - the heavy lifting has been done by the team and I and then the next piece is around going forward.

"There’ll be quite a bit of change end of next year with a World Cup cycle, decisions around the coaching staff going forward and so I thought it was a good opportunity to hand on the reins and give a long runway to continue to develop the organisation.

"The other piece is I’ve got a soon-to-be 11-year-old and a soon-to-be 14-year-old boys who in the next couple of years not really want dad hanging around as much as he wants to hang around, so the opportunity is there spend a bit of time with the family.

"I've got a really good, strong replacement in Phil Thomson, who I’ve got a great relationship with, who cares deeply about the organisation, is capable and is a man of integrity.

"That enables a smooth transition. So those things all lined up and I thought it was probably the best time for the organisation to put my hand up and say, 'It's time to hand over'. 

Thomson is staying in Canberra but is yet to decide what his next move will be.

"I'm going to stay Canberra and I will provide whatever assistance to the organisation that I can. I leave on the best of terms and I"m really passionate about what the Brumbies mean to Canberra." 

"A couple of interesting things have crossed my table over the last little while. Haven’t been actively looking but I will take a break, catch my breath and then decide what the next step is."

He will remain a keen observer of the Brumbies and said he hoped to see on and off-field success grow in the club's next phase.

"I think there’s a couple of things I'd like to see. I'd like to see the Brumbies win a Super Ruby championship and I believe we've got a squad that's capable of doing so," he said.

"I want to see participation continue to grow, (for the Brumbies to) continue to link back in to community and whether that’s driving female participation, driving our position around Indigenous or other areas, and I want it to be profitable and sustainable.

"With profitability, there's more ability for the organisation to invest back into the community."