New Zealand Rugby Commercial announces appointment of Ian Narev as Chair

Richie McCaw, Dame Patsy Reddy, and Bailey Mackey confirmed as Board Directors 

New Zealand Rugby Commercial (NZRC) has today announced the appointment of Ian Narev as Chair of its Board of Directors. NZRC was established by New Zealand Rugby (NZR) earlier this year to lead its commercial operations.

As announced in June 2022, NZRC’s Board will consist of nine Directors to bring diverse skillsets, views and experiences to rugby in New Zealand. New Zealand Rugby Players Association representative Richie McCaw, NZR Board Director and former Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy and media entrepreneur and NZR Board Director Bailey Mackey have also been appointed to join Mark Robinson, CEO of NZR, Simon Patterson, Silver Lake Managing Director and Stephen Evans, Silver Lake Managing Director. A search is ongoing for two additional independent directors.

Ian’s appointment is in line with NZR’s goal to bring new commercial expertise to NZRC. In his role as Chair, Ian will lead the Board and together with the other Directors oversee NZRC’s business, focus on strategy, and support the executive team of NZRC. His appointment has been managed and supported by representatives from NZR, NZRPA, NZR’s Provincial Unions and Silver Lake. 

Ian grew up in Auckland and is a resident in Sydney. He is currently Chief Executive Officer of SEEK, a market leader in online employment marketplaces operating across Asia Pacific and Latin America.  Prior to this, Ian served as Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Bank Group. Earlier in his career, he was the Head of the New Zealand office of McKinsey & Company. He is also the co-founder and current Chair of Springboard Trust, a non-profit organisation that has supported the principals of over 600 New Zealand schools. 

Ian Narev, new Chair of NZRC, said:

“I have been a die-hard rugby fan since first watching the All Blacks on a black and white TV in the 1970s. As digital technologies present opportunities for rugby fans in New Zealand and overseas, I am greatly looking forward to working with NZRC’s management team and all stakeholders of rugby in New Zealand.” 

NZR Chief Executive and NZRC Director, Mark Robinson said:

“This is an important milestone for NZRC and we are excited about the business acumen, technology expertise and deep understanding of rugby we have on the board.  Ian’s passion for rugby alongside his commercial skills will be extremely valuable and we are looking forward to working with him.”  

NZRPA Chief Executive Rob Nichol said:

“We are pleased to have secured such a high-calibre executive to Chair the Board and we know we will benefit significantly from Ian’s leadership skills and in particular his experience with digital technologies and consumer businesses.” 

The new NZRC Board will approve the new commercial strategy and the business plan including commercial goals, plans and targets, with a view to this being enacted from early 2023. New Zealand Rugby Commercial is committed to transparency and will at the appropriate time share details on its commercial strategy and what that means for players, fans, and anyone interested in rugby in New Zealand.