Interim ACT Brumbies chief executive Doug Edwards has put up his hand to continue running the Super Rugby club full-time. Photo: Rohan Thomson
He's part-owner of a multimillion-dollar scrapbooking company in Queensland, but interim ACT Brumbies chief executive Doug Edwards has put up his hand to continue running the Super Rugby club full-time, hoping to stick around in Canberra and help create a legacy.
The Brumbies board member of more than 10 years relocated to Mooloolaba on Queensland's Sunshine Coast earlier this year to focus on his online craft business. It boasts the knick-knacks of American entrepreneur Martha Stewart and has an annual turnover in excess of $5 million.
But after answering a call from the Brumbies in February to return to Canberra as a caretaker chief executive, Edwards told the board this week that he was willing to stay in the position for the next two years.
The former Prime television boss is contracted until August, but will present a proposal to the board on Monday detailing his first 90 days in the job and his vision for the future.
The Brumbies are in the midst of a key transitional stage. The club moved into its new home, the $16 million sports hub at the University of Canberra, on Friday.
The Brumbies also presented their sponsorship proposal to UC last week, with the university expected to decide within the next four weeks whether it will continue as the major commercial backer beyond this season. The Brumbies and UC have a 10-year alliance agreement which will involve some form of sponsorship.
Edwards, who stepped into the breach when long-time Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan unexpectedly quit, has his Queensland business to return to. But Edwards confirmed his heart was in the challenge at the Brumbies.
"I only came here [initially] for a month, and I think there's still plenty of work to be done," Edwards said.
"It's very exciting times. We've got state-of-the-art facilities for the players, the administration will be working a lot closer with the university.
"I'm originally from Victoria so rugby was never a major part of my life, it's more the business side I like. The drive of being successful with the direction of the team, there's a lot of challenges in any sporting administration. You've always got the challenge of finances and trying to fund the team.
"I've said to the Brumbies board 'if you want me to stay I'll stay', but they'll go through the process now and decide if that's what they want to do. I'm not desperate to have the job, I can work in my own business. But if the board wants me to stay, I will."
In television the bulk of his career, Edwards said he invested in an online craft and scrapbooking company with three partners less than two years ago. He calls it an "absolute fluke", but the business has grown to be Australia's largest online scrapbooking and craft supplies store.
"We deliver 300-400 parcels a day all around Australia," Edwards said. "It'll turn over this year about $5.5 million and the projections are it'll probably turn over $7 million next year.The last three years it's pretty much doubled in size each year."
Edwards was a board member when the Brumbies won their last title in 2004. The Brumbies are fourth on the Super Rugby ladder, with two games remaining to cement a finals sport.
Asked if the Brumbies could add another title to his own scrapbook, Edwards said: "We're in a pretty good position where most of the squad has reconfirmed for next year and quite a lot of them for the years beyond. It looks like we've got a good nucleus of players.
"I'd be comfortable staying for another couple of years and seeing what it brings, you never know what's around the corner."