Leading with James Ashton

S4 Episode 15 - RFU

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Episode notes

Bill Sweeney is chief executive of the Rugby Football Union, English rugby’s 150-year old governing body that oversees half a million regular players and strives for elite international success.

Sweeney joins James Ashton to discuss:

Bringing back the fans and steadying the finances in the wake of the Covid-19 closedown;

Making your own luck on and off the pitch;

Instilling a team ethic in the athletes who brought back a record medals haul from the Rio Olympics in 2016 when he led the British Olympic Association;

What he learnt from working with Usain Bolt and the All Blacks during his time at Puma and Adidas and his hopes for future Rugby World Cup victories.

Bill Sweeney was a junior footballer with Chelsea and played rugby for Aberdeenshire and Rosslyn Park before gaining corporate experience working for Shell, Mars and Unilever.

His passion for sport saw him join Adidas, a supporter of Team GB at the Beijing and London Olympic Games, and later become head of business development at Puma.

Sweeney was appointed chief executive of the BOA by Lord Coe in 2013, describing his decision to depart for the RFU in 2019 as “the only opportunity I would have left the BOA for”.

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James Ashton’s book The Nine Types of Leader (bit.ly/NINEbook) is available to order now