Sydney - Australian rugby's governance review is still months from completion
but the game took an historic step on Thursday when it was announced a
female director would join the ARU board for the first time.
Ann Sherry joined ARU chairperson Michael Hawker as the second independent director nominated by the board.
Sherry, the chief executive of cruise ship operator Carnival
Australia and a former CEO of Westpac New Zealand, will vacate a board
position on the Australian Sports Commission to take up her new role in
Hawker said the governance review being headed by General
Peter Cosgrove and former federal senator Mark Arbib was still a long
way off, but said Sherry's appointment to the board was a significant
moment for rugby.
"The first female director of the Australian Rugby Union (has
been appointed) and it shows we're trying to move the governance of the
organisation," Hawker said.
"We've got a governance review and this is a forerunner of what is going to come through the governance review.
"But we felt it was very important our sport moved further forward in having a more balanced board.
"They're (Cosgrove and Arbib) are in the process of talking
to as many people as they can and making sure that every stakeholder
that has an interest in rugby has an opportunity to provide their views
and we're in the middle of that process.
"That's going to take another couple of months until that
process is finished. We don't want to miss anyone out and then Mark
Arbib will put a report together and that will come back to the board
Sherry said she had experience in sport from a commercial
perspective and believed she could bring a fresh set of skills to the
ARU board, which had long been viewed as a boys' club.
Her main objective was to increase participation in the
sport, particularly amongst women leading into the entry of Sevens
Rugby, including women's Sevens, to the next Olympics.
"It's a fantastic signal I think about rugby in the 21st
century. Changes to the game both as an Olympic sport with the advent of
Sevens and more women playing rugby but also more contemporary
governance and I'm very pleased to be part of that," Sherry said.
"Clearly I've never been a player or a coach ... but I've
been engaged in sport at a whole lot of levels over a long period of