UPDATE 10.35am: The Western Force have confirmed that Mark Sinderberry has been appointed their new chief executive.
It was revealed today on thewest.com that Sinderberry, the former chief executive of both the ACT Brumbies and English premiership club Saracens, will take over from Vern Reid, who announced in October that he would not be seeking an extension to his contract after three years in charge.
Sinderberry, 48, was at the helm of the Brumbies from 1996-2003 and Saracens from 2003-2008, successful periods for both clubs and has been working in private business, most recently as a consultant for a London-based cleaning company.
He will start in March.
RugbyWA Chairman Russel Perry described Sinderberry’s appointment as a coup for rugby in the West.
“The Board of RugbyWA was extremely impressed by the number and calibre of local, national and international applicants we had for this position, and we are very pleased to announce Mark as the successful candidate and new CEO of RugbyWA,” he said.
“Mark not only has a passion for rugby, but he has a history of building and growing the clubs and organisations with which he’s associated. During his tenure at the Brumbies he built them into the most successful Australian rugby province, including their 2001 Super 12 title.
"On joining Saracens he helped them fight off relegation to become regular Premiership and Cup semi-finalists. He also boasts very astute business acumen which is important to the organisation in an increasingly challenging global financial environment.
“Mark enters during an important chapter for rugby in WA and the Emirates Western Force. In recent months, we’ve undertaken significant change for the benefit of the Emirates Western Force and it was essential that whomever was appointed could continue guiding the club towards sustainable success.
“Similarly we have achieved significant growth in the code at the grassroots level over recent years, and it is essential that this continue as an indicator for the overall health of the code.
“We have no doubt that Mark is the right man to take the club and rugby in the state forward and we’re very excited about what he will bring to the role and the organisation.”
Sinderberry, who is married with two sons, said he was keen to return to Australian rugby.
“While I have spent three years out of the game, my first love has and will always be rugby,” he said.
“I’m very excited about returning to the code I’m so fond of and invigorated by the rugby opportunity presented in Western Australia. This is a fantastic time to be involved with the Force and RugbyWA.
"While there is still a long way to go, the club has undergone significant change over the past six months and it’s clear that a number of the building blocks are in place to reach our end goal of being a sustainably successful rugby province.
“However, to reach this I believe there are several key elements that make up a successful rugby province.
“We need to be a club that is the preferred employer for players and staff where they understand they will develop and reach their full potential.
"The Board and (coach) Michael Foley have already done considerable work investing in and constructing a world-class rugby program in recent months and the squad has clearly responded with great passion and commitment for the upcoming season.
“It’s imperative that we be an organisation that stands for something and has a clear direction while remaining relevant and entwined with the local rugby community. Grassroots and community rugby is the most fundamental aspect of our game and its integral that we continue to build participation at all levels and ages as well as providing a pathway for our talented and aspiring players, coaches and referees.
“Finally, it’s essential that we remain a part of the wider community and continue to build and engage our passionate and loyal supporter base. The ‘Sea of Blue’ are well known around the world and a focus for us will be ensuring they remain involved with the club and can share in the journey of the Emirates Western Force and rugby in the state.
“As I said, I believe that many building blocks are in place to achieve these objectives and I’d like to thank Vern Reid and the Board for their efforts in assisting the club to reach this point.
“I’m looking forward to arriving in Perth in March, mapping out how we’re looking to progress over the next 12 months and building on the improvements that have already been put in place to ultimately deliver our collective goal of a sustainable and successful organisation.”
Sinderberry, a former ACT rugby representative, was appointed inaugural chief executive of the ACT Brumbies in 1995 after working with KPMG and National Capital Printing in Canberra.
In his seven years the Brumbies made the Super Rugby finals series and won the 2001 title with the 36-6 win over the Sharks.
In 2003 he was recruited by the ailing Saracens club to develop long-term strategies and recruit new coaching staff that took the side to four semi-final appearances. He also successfully managed the sale of the club to private investors.
After the sale and restructure of Saracens by South African investors, Sinderberry established a UK franchise for an international cleaning company, which achieved a turnover of more than $1 million within two-and-a-half years.