12 Dec 2015

NZRL boss resigns

1:11 pm on 12 December 2015

New Zealand Rugby League chief executive Phil Holden has resigned after almost three years in the job.

Holden said it was a decision made for his family, who will shift from Auckland to Wairarapa.

NZRL CEO Phil Holden

NZRL CEO Phil Holden Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"It's obviously a difficult decision from a career perspective, but I want to explore more of a portfolio of work options that will provide the right harmony between family and work," Holden said.

"As an organisation, we always say we are about whanau and family comes first, so for me, this is very consistent with those values."

When he arrived at NZRL in early 2013, Holden, a former provincial hockey representative, brought a marketing and commercial background that had culminated in six years as chief executive of The Lion Foundation.

Holden found an organisation that had rebuilt its reputation and influence after a dramatic Sport NZ-mandated restructure in 2009.

Holden felt he had managed a shift in culture within the game, NZRL and its marquee national men's team, the Kiwis.

During his tenure, the Kiwis lost their World Cup title, but regrouped to inflict three successive defeats on champions Australia and snatch the world No.1 ranking for the first time. New Zealand has also secured the rights to co-host the next Rugby League World Cup with Australia.

NZRL has brought the women's programme under its high performance umbrella, showcasing rugby league as a viable sporting pathway for females through the exploits of the Kiwi Ferns on the international stage.

The NZRL board has appointed long-standing chief financial officer Alex Hayton as interim CEO, while the role was advertised publicly.

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