Andrew Bryan, NRL.com
Newly appointed Australian Rugby League Commission CEO Dave Smith has described his new job as the best in Australia.
The current chief executive of Lloyds International was announced today as the new CEO of the Australian Rugby League Commission and will commence his role at Rugby League Central at the start of February.
“There is so much opportunity with this code,” Mr Smith told NRL.com.
“It matters to people, it is a great sport, it has great athletes and from what I’ve seen the administration is pretty strong as well.
“The timing is right for me as an individual, I am looking forward to getting stuck in and getting my feet under the desk in February.”
Mr Smith was appointed today by the Australian Rugby League commission after a thorough process, which began after former CEO David Gallop left the organisation in June.
“My role is about people and bringing people together with a mix of business ideas,” Mr Smith said.
“As part of the recruitment process, I have gone through a very rigorous selection with the commission.
“I’ve had the opportunity to meet every one of the commissioners and I have been incredibly impressed. It has been as rigorous a process as I’ve ever had in my career and I thank them for that.”
Mr Smith will finish up his role with Lloyds International in January, before moving fulltime to Rugby League headquarters at Moore Park at the start of February.
Mr Smith believes after signing a billion dollar television deal, the game is well-placed to be the dominant sporting code.
“I’m a chief executive, and my role is all about bringing people and opportunities together,” he said.
“It (the billion dollar deal) is a crucial component, any funding deal is crucial, but more importantly a partnership like that is a world-beating tv deal and I look forward to working with our partners.
“Equally I look to use the structure of that deal to take the game forward in very strategic ways.”
While Mr Smith acknowledged there were some issues facing the game, he said he had been briefed on the processes and was happy with the structures in place.
“I haven’t dealt with these issues because I haven’t been involved,” he said.
“My observation is that there are some very strong processes in place and the right people have been involved.
“The NRL has done a reasonable job and those processes are important to any decisions that I will make in the future.”
Mr Smith is a Chief Executive and not a traditional financer or banker, he is a Welshman who nine years ago, moved with his young family to Australia and ultimately has had responsibility for managing Lloyds International with International assets of AUD $50 billion.
He has spent the last 25 years managing big businesses both nationally and internationally and said he was really looking forward to his new role working in Rugby League.
“I’m absolutely a Rugby League fan,” he said.
“I watch it on weekends, my travel schedule has been pretty horrible for the last six months, but I really loved the Grand Final and the State of Origin series was one of the greatest sporting events I have ever seen.
“I’m a big fan, and looking forward to getting more involved.”
Mr Smith will start his role on February 1.
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