Rugby Australia Chairman, Hamish McLennan has today announced the formation of an Advisory Board to oversee Rugby Australia’s historic bid to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup.
The seven-member Board features a mix of Australia’s leading captains of industry, each of whom have played significant roles in shaping the nation and share a deep personal connection to Rugby.
McLennan has spent the weeks leading up to his opening Board meeting as Rugby Australia Chairman assembling the powerful group, that will guide the organisation as it embarks on delivering a knockout bid to bring the world’s third largest sporting event to Australia for the first time since 2003.
The Advisory Board will be Chaired by renowned Australian businessman, Sir Rod Eddington AO FTSE and includes McLennan, former Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard OM AC, the 26th Governor-General of Australia, General Sir Peter Cosgrove AK CVO MC, Rugby World Cup-winning Wallabies Captain, John Eales AM, Fortescue Metals Group Chief Executive, Elizabeth Gaines and Qantas Loyalty CEO, Olivia Wirth.
Rugby Australia Chairman, Hamish McLennan said: “The 2027 Rugby World Cup is an incredible opportunity for Rugby and for our country and we have signalled our intentions clearly by bringing together some of the greatest minds in Rugby, politics, business, and the tourism sector to deliver a winning bid for Australia.
“As I announced after I first agreed to become Chairman of the Board, the 2027 Rugby World Cup bid was one of my top priorities and today we have taken a giant step towards laying the foundations for a successful bid.
“I’m delighted that Sir Rod Eddington has agreed to Chair this very important Advisory Board on behalf of our 2027 Rugby World Cup bid team. I have known Rod for 25 years and he is one of Australia’s leading businessmen and a doyen of the tourism industry, who will lead this group of prominent Australians superbly.
“I am honoured that each of these incredibly successful individuals has agreed to get behind this important project.”
Rugby World Cup 2027 Bid Advisory Board Chairman, Sir Rod Eddington said: “I’m very proud to accept Hamish’s offer to Chair this Advisory Board and for the opportunity to help lead a project that the whole nation can get behind. I am also thrilled that my fellow board members see the tremendous opportunity that the bid presents for our country and for Rugby.
“This is a terrific group of people who are all passionate about Rugby and Australia. These are some of the finest leaders in their fields that Australia has ever produced, and now they are joining forces to help bring a tournament to our shores that will be transformational for the game and provide a huge economic windfall for the country.”
Rugby World Cup 2027 Bid Advisory Board – Bios
John Howard OM AC
John Winston Howard, OM, AC served as the 25th Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1996 to 2007. He is the second-longest serving Prime Minister, behind only Sir Robert Menzies. He is a life-long Rugby fan and was leader of the Australian Liberal Party from 1985 to 1989 and from 1995 to 2007.
Sir Peter Cosgrove AK CVO MC
General Sir Peter John Cosgrove, AK, CVO, MC is a retired senior Australian Army officer who served as the 26th Governor-General of Australia, in office from 2014 to 2019. A graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon, Cosgrove fought in the Vietnam War, receiving the Military Cross in 1971. Sir Peter was Rugby Australia Patron for the duration of his term in office as Governor-General.
John Eales AM
John Eales AM is the most successful captain in the history of Australian Rugby and a member of the World Rugby Hall of Fame. He was one of the first players to win multiple Rugby World Cups and skippered the Wallabies to its second World Cup triumph in 1999. Eales played 86 Tests for the Wallabies and recently served on the Rugby Australia Board. He is also on ASX listed Flight Centre Travel Group and Magellan Financial Group Boards.
Sir Rod Eddington AO FTSE
Sir Rod Eddington AO, FTSE is a leading Australian businessman and Rhodes Scholar and is currently chair of Infrastructure Australia. He is a former CEO of British Airways and Cathay Pacific, and Director of JPMorgan and Rio Tinto Group, as well as serving 12 years as Chairman of VMEC (now Visit Victoria).
Elizabeth Gaines is one of Australia’s leading businesswomen who serves as Chief Executive Officer of ASX listed Fortescue Metals Group, a global leader in the iron ore industry. She was appointed CEO in February 2018 having served as a non-executive Director on the Board since 2013 and has extensive international experience across a range of sectors having previously been CEO of ASX listed Helloworld, and the Holmes a Court family’s flagship company, Heytesbury. In 2019, Elizabeth was ranked second in Fortune Magazine’s Global Businessperson of the Year.
Hamish McLennan was elected Chairman of the Rugby Australia Board on June 15, 2020. He chairs several ASX listed companies including REA Group and HT&E and is Deputy Chairman of Magellan Financial Group. His former corporate roles include Global Chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam Inc based in New York, CEO, Executive Chairman and Managing Director of Network Ten and Executive Vice President, Office of the Chairman at News Corp.
Olivia Wirth is one of the most accomplished senior executives in the Australian tourism industry. Having served in five senior roles over the course of a decade with Qantas, she was made CEO of Qantas Loyalty in 2018. Prior to Qantas, Wirth held senior positions with the Tourism and Transport Forum and the Australian Tourist Commission. She is also on the Board of UNICEF Australia.