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John O'Neill steps down from ARU

Date
John O'Neill talking with Wallabies coach Robbie Deans in Auckland in August.

John O'Neill talking with Wallabies coach Robbie Deans in Auckland in August. Photo: Getty Images

Managing director and CEO of the Australian Rugby Union, John O'Neill, will stand down from his post on October 31. O'Neill had originally to retire towards the end of 2013 after the tour to Australia by the British and Irish Lions tour, but has decided to bring his departure forward.

The announcement was made by ARU Chairman Michael Hawker this morning.

Hawker praised O'Neill's long-standing commitment to Australian Rugby but says his decision allows him to concentrate on business commitments outside of rugby as chairman of casino company Echo Entertainment.

“John’s workload beyond Rugby has recently grown significantly, and unexpectedly, through his chairmanship of Echo Entertainment,” Hawker said.

“John had previously indicated he was standing down when his contract ended next year, so the timing of his resignation is now logical for both him and the ARU.

“Under his leadership, a Governance review into the game has been initiated; planning for the 2013 Lions Tour is well underway; the Qantas Wallabies have improved from fifth in the world when John returned to the game in 2007 to now second behind the All Blacks; participation levels are at an all-time high; the ARU has strengthened its financial position; we have increased influence at the International Rugby Board; Rugby has been further expanded with a fifth team in Melbourne; and the new Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship has been launched with the inclusion of Argentina, refreshing the Southern Hemisphere Test competition.

“John has been a great servant of Rugby in Australia over two decades and has achieved the key objectives of a five-year strategic plan since re-joining the ARU in 2007.

“John’s resignation enables the Board to put in place new leadership to build on that platform and to drive our substantial agenda over the next five years, while enabling John to focus on his broader business interests.”

O'Neill was CEO of the ARU from 1995 to 2003 and stepped down after successfully organising the 2003 World Cup. He spent three years at the head of Football Federation Australian before returning to the ARU in 2007.

In both his tenure's at the ARU, O'Neill has overseen great change.

In 1995, rugby shedded its amateur cloak and embraced the professional era. In 2011, he oversaw the expansion of Australia's Super rugby presence with the inclusion of the Melbourne Rebels.

O'Neill has been a strong supporter of Wallabies coach Robbie Deans and played a pivotal role in luring the Cantabrian from Christchurch to Sydney.

ARU deputy CEO, Matt Carroll, will be replace O'Neill in a caretaker capacity while a worldwide search is undertaken to find a permanent replacement.

MORE TO COME

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Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
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RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
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Round 3
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ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
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RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
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Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
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Round 5
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