NRL 2020 COVID-19 Restructure - CEO Greenberg Steps Down

20th April 2020

After reflecting on the needs of the game, it has been mutually agreed that Todd Greenberg will step down as Chief Executive Officer and his employment with the Australian Rugby League Commission will finish up today. ARLC Chairman Mr Peter V’landys AM said: “The role of Chief Executive of the NRL is one of the most challenging and difficult roles in Australian sport, with a diversity of passionate stakeholders. ARLC thanks Todd for his contribution to the game over the last 7 years and as Chief Executive for the last four years”. Mr Greenberg said: “It has been my great honour and privilege to be the CEO of the NRL for the last 4 years. Despite the variety of challenges and pressures I have loved every single minute of the journey. Our growth over the last 4 years has been extraordinary & I am very proud of my contribution to the game. "I am indebted to the game for the variety of opportunities and experiences that have been provided to my family and I, and we leave with many great memories and life long friendships. "My sincere thanks to all the stakeholders across the game, particularly the fans who are the lifeblood of rugby league. Their unwavering passion for the game is wonderful. "I remain in awe of the players skill and bravery to play this game week in and week out & I thank all of them, both past and present for their friendship and support. "My thanks also to the staff and Executive team at the NRL. It has been an absolute honour to lead this team of talented, resilient and hard working professionals." Mr Andrew Abdo has been appointed acting Chief Executive Officer while a search is undertaken for a new Chief Executive Officer.

NRL 2020 COVID-19 Restructure - NRL Leadership Redundancies

1st September 2020

The National Rugby League (NRL) has rationalised its leadership team due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant loss of revenue in 2020. The NRL has reviewed its operations and sought ways to significantly reduce costs. As part of this process, we have had to make two roles redundant, Chief Operating Officer, Nick Weeks and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Liz Deegan. Acting NRL CEO Andrew Abdo thanked both Mr Weeks and Ms Deegan for the significant contribution they had made to the game. Mr Weeks joined the NRL in 2013 to establish and run the League’s integrity unit. In that time, he has built the League’s integrity and risk framework and earned the respect of the sport through his strong and ethical leadership of one of the game’s most challenging areas. Mr Weeks has agreed to assist the NRL as its transitions to the new structure. "I have had the privilege of working with Nick for my entire career at the NRL. We have been through a great deal of change together and he has made an immense contribution to the game," Mr Abdo said. Mr Abdo, thanked Ms Deegan for her valuable contribution: "Liz brought a wealth of experience in strategic communications and we thank Liz for her valuable contribution and for the communications expertise she provided to the NRL. We wish her well for the next chapter in her career."

NRL 2020 COVID-19 Restructure - Abdo Appointed NRL CEO

3rd September 2020

The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) today appointed Andrew Abdo as Chief Executive Officer of the National Rugby League (NRL). Mr Abdo, who was appointed Interim CEO in April, joined the NRL in 2013 and most recently served as Chief Commercial Officer. ARLC Chairman Peter V’landys AM said Mr Abdo had impressed the Commission with the way he has guided the game through the COVID-19 Pandemic and driving the NRL’s commercial growth in previous years. “Andrew has done an outstanding job as Interim CEO. The Commission could not be happier with his work ethic and the way he has led the game through the pandemic. There’s no better person to take rugby league in a new innovative direction,’’ he said. Mr V’landys said Mr Abdo’s ability to bring new revenue to the game in recent years would be vital as the Commission looks to secure the code’s long-term financial future. “Andrew has one of the best commercial brains in Australian sport. He has been the one who has brought in the majority of our new non broadcast revenues. Prior to the pandemic our revenues had increased by 15 per cent, year on year, for the past four years and that was down to Andrew and his team. “Andrew’s commercial and financial background is the perfect skillset for the game’s needs moving forward. We are re-setting our cost base and we need to make smart investments to set the game up for future generations. Andrew thinks outside the square and will look at ways to do things differently. Andrew also possesses a cool and calm temperament which is a vital asset with the many pressures of our great game.” South African born and raised, Mr Abdo, 43, is a chartered accountant who worked for Deloitte in Johannesburg, Bermuda and Sydney before he joined the NRL. “It’s an honour to be appointed CEO of the NRL. I want to thank the Commission for their support and setting the strategic direction to lead the game through the COVID-19 Pandemic. In particular, I want to thank Peter for his leadership and guidance. I’ve learnt so much from him and will continue to. The game is very lucky to have Peter as our Chairman,’’ he said. Mr Abdo said he was looking forward to transforming the way the NRL functions. “I’m looking forward to working with the Commission and all of our shareholders on creating a new era for rugby league where we think differently. We must stabilise, renovate and grow. In the short term we need to reset our cost base and ensure we retain our revenues. Then we must think innovatively about enhancing our game and ultimately seeking long term growth.” Mr Abdo said rugby league had set the foundation for his relationships since he moved to Australia in 2012. “I’ve been passionate about sport my entire life. When my wife and I decided to move to Australia it was rugby league that helped create our networks. Almost all of my friends and business relationships have come from rugby league,’’ he said. Mr Abdo thanked all NRL Clubs, States and players for their support since he was appointed Interim CEO. “What has impressed me the most during this pandemic is how the game has come together. Almost every week we have faced a new obstacle, but together we have found a way through to ensure the Telstra Premiership has not only continued but led the way in Australian sport. If we can continue that teamwork post COVID there is no limit to what we can achieve.“

NRL 2020 COVID-19 Restructure - NRL Business Restructure

21st September 2020

The National Rugby League (NRL) today advised employees of plans to re-organise the business in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is part of a broader plan led by The Australian Rugby League Commission to ensure a sustainable long-term future for rugby league. The proposed re-organisation will make the NRL a more dynamic and simplified business which will service the needs of fans, the 16 Premiership Clubs, State Leagues, broadcasters and commercial partners in a new economy. The business will focus on 2 important strategic areas, a world class sports entertainment business and a governing body investing in participation and long-term connection to the community. The NRL will be divided into seven teams:

  • Competitions
  • Partnerships
  • Fan Experience
  • Finance, Technology & Operations
  • Risk, Integrity & Performance
  • Brand, Media & Communications
  • Participation & Community

    The proposed restructure will result in a 25 per cent reduction in roles across all levels. Overall the NRL is targeting an annual reduction in all expenditure by $50m per annum. Changes already announced to the NRL’s executive team, have seen executive numbers reduce from 11 members, prior to COVID, to 8 members post COVID. NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said the changes were vital to ensuring a more effective and efficient business in a post COVID economy. "Our business, like so many others, has been hit by a hurricane called COVID which caused substantial damage. Our strategy moving forward is to stabilise, renovate and grow," he said. "In order to stabilise, we must secure revenues and reduce our expenses to ensure a strong foundation. Then we will renovate by considering ways to make our products more entertaining and dynamic for our fans. Finally, we will develop bold plans for growth, looking at new products, new markets and how we can grow the game internationally," he said. "Our game is part of the sports entertainment industry and we are aiming to transform faster than others to remain competitive in a dynamic market." Mr Abdo said the pandemic would force difficult decisions to be made. "We will lose some very good people during this process. Talented people with a genuine love and passion for our game who have all contributed in some way. This is painful but necessary process to ensure we survive. I have genuine empathy for all employees affected and we will listen to their feedback. Our game must remain strong for future generations. We all want to leave the game in a stronger position than we first joined the sport." Mr Abdo said he was confident rugby league would come out of COVID with strong foundations to re-build from. "What has inspired me most during the pandemic is how our game has come together. We have shown what we can achieve when we work together. Rugby league, under the direction of the Commission, has led the way in Australian sport and I am confident we will continue to do so," he said. The NRL will consult with employees over the coming week about the restructure proposals.

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