Rugby Australia Chairman Hamish McLennan is pleased to confirm two further high-profile appointments to the Rugby World Cup 2027 Bid Advisory Board.
Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates AC, who was last week elected International Olympic Committee Vice President for the second time, joins the board alongside former Wallaby Gary Ella, as Australia prepares to bid for the 2027 showpiece.
Coates and Ella join Advisory Board Chairman Sir Rod Eddington AO FTSE, 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, Qantas Loyalty CEO, Olivia Wirth and McLennan.
Rugby Australia Chairman, Hamish McLennan said: “John and Gary are two terrific additions to the Advisory Board and they join an already formidable team, as we begin to develop a bid that delivers significant return to the Australian economy as well as World Rugby.”
“John has a storied history in facilitating major events across the globe and has a professional network that is second to none. John is one of Australia’s top sporting administrators globally and with his re-appointment as Vice President of the Olympic movement, he knows what it takes for Australia to succeed at this level.” “
John’s experience as Senior Vice President of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Bid Committee and as Senior Vice President of the Organising Committee (SOCOG) was crucial in winning and delivering the Sydney Games.”
"Gary's history as a Wallaby needs no introduction but his work with the Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development team and the Classic Wallabies has helped secure significant programs for Rugby Australia to inspire and engage First Nations people to our game,” McLennan said.
Rugby World Cup 2027 Bid Advisory Board Chairman, Sir Rod Eddington said: “I’m delighted to welcome John and Gary to the Advisory Board as we prepare a compelling bid to bring this tournament to Australia.”
“This is an exciting opportunity, not only for Rugby here in Australia, but to provide economic stimulus to the country, particularly as we continue to rebuild from the financial impact of COVID-19,” Sir Rod Eddington said.
International Olympic Committee Vice President John Coates said: “I’m honoured to have been asked to join the Advisory Board and thank Hamish and Rod for their consideration. The Rugby World Cup is one of the world’s major sporting events on the global calendar and the positive effect it would have on Australia would be immeasurable.”
“This bid is a terrific opportunity to capture the hearts and minds of Australians young and old while also showcasing our incredible country to the rest of the world,” Coates said.
Former Wallaby Gary Ella said: “I want to thank Hamish for his leadership and proactivity as we look to secure a tournament that would be transformational for Rugby here in Australia.
“I know from my experience at all levels of the game, what a fantastic opportunity a home Rugby World Cup would provide for communities across the country and what that investment would mean for our future generations,” Ella said.
The 2019 showpiece in Japan was the most economically successful Rugby World Cup ever, with over $7.5 billion generated in economic output and attracting more than 240,000 international visitors.
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.
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).
John Coates AC
John Coates AC is one of Australia’s most renowned sports administrators having served as President of the Australian Olympic Committee since 1990 and recently reappointed as Vice President of the International Olympic Committee following a previous four year term from 2013-2017. Coates was Senior Vice President of Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Bid Committee and Vice President of the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG). John also serves as Chairman of the IOC’s Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Coates is also Chairman of Australia’s largest and oldest thoroughbred auctioneers, William Inglis & Son.
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.
Capped six times by Australia, Gary as well as brothers Glen and Mark, formed one of the most intimidating backlines in Australian Rugby history. A proud Yuin and Bidjigal man, Gary was previously Program Manager for the Sydney Olympic Games Organising Committee (SOCOG) and has coached professional rugby at NSW Waratahs, Leinster (Ireland), Parramatta and Randwick. Gary has most recently served Randwick Council as Coordinator Community Development.
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.