NRL Appoints Former Lloyds Bank CEO David Smith As League CEO
Flush with cash from the new broadcast deal, the Australian Rugby League Commission "has appointed departing Lloyds Bank CEO David Smith as the game's new CEO," according to Brad Walter of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. ARLC Chair John Grant has described Smith as a person who "knows business, who knows how to lead." Smith, who is Welsh and has a background in the financial sector and counter-terrorism, "will start work" at the National Rugby League on Feb. 1 after finishing as CEO of Lloyd's Bank Australia. The ARLC "wanted a CEO with a financial background to manage the new future fund being established from the A$1B ($1.05B) coming into the game from the broadcast and media rights deal" (SMH, 11/23). In Sydney, Brent Read reported Smith's "appointment ends the long search for a replacement for David Gallop, who was sacked in June." Gallop is now the head of Football Federation Australia. A former soldier with the British Army, Smith said that "he was very excited about taking on the role." He said, "I'm absolutely thrilled to be a part of the rugby league family" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 11/23). In Sydney, Walter reported "just minutes after a press conference" to introduce him as the new NRL CEO, Smith "was asked to name five indigenous players in an iconic image from the inaugural All Stars match engraved on the window of an interview room at Rugby League Central." Smith said, "No, I can't name any of those players. I am sorry." Smith "accepts that his lack of league credentials will be questioned almost every time he inadvertently refers to the code as simply ''rugby." However, he "is believed to have taken a sizeable pay cut to fill the position" that has been vacant since Gallop's departure on June 5, "makes no apologies for not being a rugby league tragic." Smith said, "'I don't pretend to be an encyclopaedia on any sport. I love watching sport, I love the drama of sport, I love all of that stuff so I think culturally I am a fit, and what I bring to the party is my personality and drive, but I am a business guy at the end of the day" (SMH, 11/24).