Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA) Chairman, Bruce Hodgkinson AM SC, has today announced that Chief Executive Ross Xenos will be leaving RUPA later this year following over seven years’ service.
Xenos initially joined RUPA as Player Services & Relationships Manager and also filled the role of Deputy CEO before his appointment as Chief Executive Officer in March 2015.
Hodgkinson congratulated Xenos on a tenure which has delivered outstanding outcomes for RUPA’s members amidst very challenging circumstances.
“Ross has made a very significant contribution to the welfare of Rugby players around the country and to the game itself,’ Hodgkinson said.
“His tireless efforts as CEO of RUPA have ensured that the organisation is truly a strategic partner in Rugby in Australia. Ross has also been a strong voice for Australian players internationally through his participation with International Rugby Players.
"His talent and enthusiasm have been greatly appreciated and will be missed.”
Reflecting on his time at RUPA from today’s annual RUPA Agent Accreditation Conference, Xenos said,
"Words don’t do justice to the great appreciation I have for sharing the personal and professional experiences that I have had in my time with RUPA with such great people and players.
“I have cherished the opportunity I’ve had every day to work with an amazingly dedicated staff, a board of the highest integrity, and a truly professional and passionate group of players.
“What the players have given, and are prepared to give, in order to contribute to the growth of Australian Rugby continues to impress me and they certainly deserve more credit than they have received for their role in holding the game together in recent years.”
“With change the only constant in Australian Rugby, my stepping down gives RUPA the chance to find a successor who will continue representing and supporting all professional players through next year’s Rugby World Cup, the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and the negotiation of the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.”
Among the key achievements of Xenos’ tenure as RUPA Chief Executive is leading the negotiations for a landmark new CBA late last year, the second such agreement he negotiated during his tenure. The new CBA has enshrined pay parity for all men’s and women’s Rugby Sevens players, included the game’s first pregnancy policy, and substantially evolved the Super Rugby contracting model.
He also played the leading role in RUPA’s advocacy for five Australian teams as part of last year’s Super Rugby rationalisation process before being a key supporter within the game of the new Western Force.
“It has been a genuine pleasure, albeit at times within a challenging environment, to serve Australia’s Rugby players.
"I wish to especially note my sincere appreciation to Bruce Hodgkinson, Damien Fitzpatrick, Dean Mumm, Benn Robinson, Adam Wallace-Harrison, Adam Freier, Greg Harris and all Board Directors during my time at RUPA, who have each been selfless leaders and a privilege to work alongside.”
“I wish RUPA, and its current, future and past members nothing but the very best.”
Xenos will remain at RUPA’s helm until early-August before embarking on the next chapter of his career with the Melbourne Rebels. RUPA has commenced an extensive search for a new Chief Executive.