Former Repucom chairman Bill Pulver has been named the new head of the Australian Rugby Union, charged with increasing the popularity of the code.
The communications and media experience of Pulver, a former Repucom Chairman, whose daughter Madeleine was the victim of the collar-bomb hoax, was a key factor in his appointment according to ARU chairman Michael Hawker.
He said: “We wanted someone with proven commercial success at CEO level, with international business experience and a love of Rugby.
“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. He has enjoyed success in large and small businesses, through growth cycles and tough times.”
Pulver’s media credentials include six years in New York as president of market research firm NetRatings, and two years as president of ratings company ACNielsen eRatings.com in London.
He said the ARU needs to “enhance our entertainment experience” to compete with the array of other sporting codes, particularly the dominant sports of Rugby League and AFL.
The forthcoming British and Irish Lions rugby tour was also earmarked as an opportunity to engage with more fans of the game, as well as the upcoming Super Rugby season.
Late last year the ARU signed a new free-to-air TV rights deal with Ten, after conflicts arose with Nine, which had delayed broadcast of several important test matches, including Rugby World Cup games, to show live NRL.