NRL Chief Executive Officer Dave Smith today announced the appointment of Suzanne Young as the NRL’s new Chief Operating Officer.
Ms Young has more than 20 years’ experience managing strategy development and operations in major companies across construction, aviation, financial services and information technology sectors.
She has a passion and commitment to sport as a participant and volunteer coach, official and administrator. Born in country NSW, she was Australian Surf Life Saver of the Year in 1996 and was one of Surf Life Saving Australia’s first independent directors in 2010.
Ms Young, who starts at the NRL today, is also the mother of three teenage boys along with three teenage step-children.
NRL Chief Executive Officer Dave Smith said Ms Young’s appointment was part of the ongoing transformation of rugby league into a bigger and even more professional sport.
“Suzanne has exceptional management and leadership skills and experience gained from operating at a senior level in global companies,” Mr Smith said.
“She has been responsible for driving the development of strategy, running the operations and delivering change management programs across diverse industries.
“Combined with her life-long commitment to sport and her experience in sports as a volunteer and administrator, Suzanne is a great fit for the complexity of the Chief Operating Officer’s role in Rugby League.
“She is joining at a fantastic time – we’ve had a big year on the field with the closest competition in the modern era; we have the top rating sports TV programs in the country; sell-out crowds at our big events; and we’ve never had more members.
“Rugby League is in good shape and Suzanne’s contribution will help the game continue to improve and grow as a professional and well-managed sport that connects with its fans, members and gives back to its communities.”
Ms Young said she was looking forward to the role, which combined her skills and passion.
“I have been successful in business because of the skills that I have learned in sport such as discipline, courage, team work, inspiring leadership and good communication,” Ms Young said.
“Through my own experiences and those of my children, I have seen first-hand the power of sport in developing healthy minds and bodies and in influencing and building strong communities.
“And, as a mum of teenage boys, I also know how important sport is in building young people’s respect, self-confidence and resilience.
“What makes this job so special is the role of rugby league in growing and developing the leaders of the future – and I will be bringing this passion to the job from day one.
“I want to see this game continue to grow so that more women and children are involved in all levels of the game from grassroots to elite through participating, volunteering, officiating, coaching or as fans.”
Ms Young has a Bachelor of Economics, a Masters of Tax Law and a Masters of Accounting. She is a Certified Practising Accountant and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
She has held senior executive positions at Leighton Holdings Limited, Commonwealth Bank, Qantas and Unisys Corporation.
She is currently on the Board of the St Joseph’s College Foundation and is the Chair of its Indigenous Education Fund. Previous board positions include the Commonwealth Bank Group Superannuation Fund (2010-2013), Supply Nation (2011-2013) and Qantas Superannuation Fund (2009-2010).