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Pulver takes ARU reins

Wed, 09 Jan 2013 07:10
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We wanted someone with proven commercial success at CEO level
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Bill Pulver, the head of a linguistics technology company, has been named as John O'Neill's successor at the helm of the Australian Rugby Union.

O'Neill resigned in October after 14 years in the role, and Pulver, whose daughter was at the centre of a sensational collar bomb extortion hoax in 2011, has been appointed as his replacement ahead of a big year for the sport, with the upcoming British and Irish Lions tour.

ARU chairman Michael Hawker said Pulver's experience in marketing that included sports and entertainment sponsorship, as well as a devotion to rugby, made him the ideal candidate.

"We wanted someone with proven commercial success at CEO level, with international business experience and a love of rugby,' said Hawker.

"The board also set priorities around good communication skills and an understanding of the world of sports marketing and media. Bill has all those attributes."

The 53-year-old Pulver shot to fame in 2011 when a masked intruder broke into his luxury Sydney home and strapped a device around the neck of his daughter Madeleine, then 18, with a note attached claiming it was a bomb.

The teenager endured a horrifying 10-hour ordeal with police experts working into the night to remove the device, only later establishing it was an elaborate hoax.

Pulver said he felt "privileged and excited" to take the job.

"For 20 years I have been a chief executive in a diverse range of industries and now I have the opportunity to focus my efforts on this great game, the game I love."

He said 2013 would be a momentous year, with 14 Test matches scheduled for the Wallabies including the British and Irish Lions tour, but noted there were also challenges ahead.

"In the short term the challenge for our team in the ARU headquarters is to work with all the game's stakeholders to ensure rugby in Australia powers forward as a unified and energised force," he said.

Pulver takes charge following an uninspiring season by the Wallabies, hamstrung by a litany of injuries to key players. It saw them slump from second to third place on the world rankings, piling pressure on coach Robbie Deans.
 

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