Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA) Chairman Bruce Hodgkinson AM SC is delighted to announce the appointment of Prataal Raj as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Mr. Raj becomes the fourth RUPA CEO, following the departure of Ross Xenos in August. Mr. Raj’s appointment comes following the conclusion of a comprehensive recruitment process, with close to 100 applications received since the position was advertised.
Mr. Raj has significant sports administration experience having worked at International Management Group, the International Cricket Council, and more recently as Secretary General of the Formula One Promoters Association and the General Manager – Strategy and Contracts at the Australian Grand Prix Corporation.
Hodgkinson said that this appointment would allow RUPA to continue to build its’ voice as a key stakeholder in Australian Rugby at a time when the code faces numerous challenges, but also opportunities to shape the future.
“A unanimous decision was reached by the selection committee, which consisted of RUPA Board Members Sally Fielke and Dean Mumm, RUPA President Damien Fitzpatrick, and myself,” Hodgkinson said.
“Prataal’s unique skill set and experience made him an ideal appointment to the role of CEO and provides a strong foundation upon which to continue RUPA’s representation of, and advocacy on behalf of, the RUPA membership.
“Prataal’s major international sports administration experience also allows RUPA to enhance its contribution to the strategic direction of Rugby in Australia.
“On behalf of the Board, we are tremendously excited to work with Prataal in ensuring RUPA continues to deliver on its core purposes of protecting the standards of professional players, promoting the interests of the players and the game, and preparing players for their lives beyond Rugby.”
RUPA President Damien Fitzpatrick said that the players should be excited by Mr. Raj’s appointment.
“I’m really pleased that I was given the opportunity to represent the current playing group directly as part of the selection committee, and I have high hopes for the future of RUPA under the leadership of Prataal,” he said.
“I can confidently say no stone was left unturned during a thorough recruitment process, and I viewed my place on the selection committee as a huge responsibility.
“As someone who has worked across multiple sports, through differing cultures and across both commercial and legal landscapes, Prataal will bring a fresh energy, perspective and strategic insights not only to RUPA but Australian Rugby. I am very encouraged to have Prataal leading RUPA into the future.”
Incoming RUPA CEO Prataal Raj said he was looking forward to beginning his role at RUPA.
“I’m delighted to have been offered this role and look forward to working with the players to ensure their interests are staunchly represented,” Raj said.
“I’ve been a strong supporter of Rugby my entire life and am excited about the opportunity to contribute to the strategic direction of the game. RUPA has built its’ reputation as a responsible and respected stakeholder in the game and I look forward to building upon this and working closely with Rugby Australia, state unions, RUPA’s existing commercial partners and Government to further and strengthen the interests of players.
“I’m also excited to continue driving the evolution of RUPA’s Player Development Program for both male and female Rugby players, and I believe the game’s ongoing investment in its players is paramount.
“This investment, and rugby’s inclusivity, are areas the game prides itself on, and I’m looking forward to ensuring our members are supported off-field and that we continue to reinforce and enhance the link between wellbeing and high performance, and to follow through on RUPA’s mantra of helping our players become better people, better players, and live better lives.”
Mr Raj possesses a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Sydney and was most recently the Chief Operating Officer for GiVV Technologies.
Hodgkinson thanked Interim CEO, and General Manager of Player Services, Toby Duncan, for leading the Association since Xenos’ departure.
“Toby’s dedication and ongoing commitment to RUPA ensured that the Association was able to function effectively and with minimal disruption whilst the selection committee were evaluating candidates for the role, and ensured that we felt comfortable taking the required time to select the right person for the job.”
Mr Raj will commence with RUPA on 12 November.