Our Board is charged with setting strategy, direction and policy for New Zealand Rugby, and is ultimately responsible for the decisions and actions of NZR Management and Staff.
Many of the decisions concerning New Zealand’s national teams, domestic competitions, financial management and rugby traditions can only be made by a vote of the Board.
In October 2017 it was decided to transition over a three-year period to a Board comprising three Elected Board Members, three Appointed Board Members, and three Nominated Board Members. Nominated Board Members are to be nominated by Provincial Unions or the NZ Māori Rugby Board, then appointed by the Appointments and Remuneration Committee, and the first appointment was made in April 2018. The last elected position to be replaced by a nominated position was decided at the 2020 AGM to complete the transition.
One of the Nominated Board Member positions must be filled by a representative of Māori, and that person is automatically appointed as NZR Representative on the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board.
All Board Members must resign from, and be independent of, any Provincial Union office.
The Chair of the Board is Stewart Mitchell. He has held the Chair since 31 May 2021.
Stewart Mitchell is a former Canterbury Rugby Football Union Chair (2012-14) and board member of the Crusaders (2008 - 2014). Stewart is a qualified accountant and highly experienced strategic and human resource consultant. He has over 20 years' experience in various governance roles and has considerable experience working with Councils and both private and public sector Boards, across a broad range of industries. Stewart played representative rugby in both England and NZ and was a member of the NZ Colts (U21 team 1972 -1973). Stewart joined the Board in 2014.
Dr Farah Palmer (ONZM) was elected to the Board in December 2016. The former Black Fern (35 Tests, 1996-2006) captained the team to three consecutive Rugby World Cups, was inducted to the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2014 and has served on the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board since 2007. Palmer is a senior lecturer in Massey University's School of Management and Director of the University's Māori Business & Leadership Centre (Te Au Rangahau)
Ajit is a business advisor with more than 20 years of proven commercial success, since leading a management buy-out of transport and contracting company United Carriers. A Northland Rugby Union Board member since 2008 he helped the Provincial Union turn its finances around and was Chair from 2014 to 2020. He has also been an observer on the Board of the Blues Super Rugby club and served as interim CEO. Ajit is a Fellow of the Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand, and member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants with industry accounting experience stretching back more than 30 years. A member of the Institute of Directors he is currently on the Boards of property and quarrying business United Infrastructure Ltd and the Alzheimer’s Society of Northland.
Bart Campbell is a sports marketing professional with extensive experience over 25 years across the UK, North America and Australasia. Over 17 years in London Bart had several leadership roles as Executive Chair, Group CEO and Group COO at sports marketing agencies including TLA Worldwide, Chime Group plc’s CSM and Essentially Group plc. In 2019 he started a boutique events agency, Left Field Live, working with blue chip rights holders to take their content to new markets of strategic importance, with a focus on Asia Pacific and North America. Bart moved from London to Melbourne in 2013 and was a shareholder and Chair of the NRL club Melbourne Storm and Super Netball team Sunshine Coast Lightning until May 2020. Bart has been a member of the NZR Board since 2020, served as a NZR representative on World Rugby Council and an elected member of the World Rugby EXCO board. From August 2020 Bart has been a director of Rugby World Cup Limited, the arm of World Rugby tasked with commercialisation and delivery of Rugby World Cups.
Mark Hutton has 25 years of international finance and private equity investment experience including being a founding Director of Evergreen Partners and Direct Capital, New Zealand’s leading private company investor. A Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors, Mark also holds a governance role with agri-business company Scales Corporation, where he is the Chair of the Remuneration and Governance Committee. He was also on NZR’s Appointments and Remuneration Committee in 2011. His extensive CV includes appointments as a non-executive director for twenty operating companies since 1994, while he has acted as Promoter for four NZX Initial Public Offerings. Educated at the University of Canterbury, Mark’s passion for rugby includes two three-year stints on the Board of College Rifles Rugby Football Club in Auckland.
Brent Impey was appointed to the New Zealand Rugby Board in 2012. He has both played and coached rugby and was closely involved in many broadcast and sponsorship issues as Chief Executive of Mediaworks from 1999-2009. He was also involved in the 2011 NZRU review of Investec Super Rugby franchises. He holds a number of directorships, including Yellow Pages Group and Devon Funds Management Limited. He has been Chair and Executive Director of the Fred Hollows Foundation in New Zealand and is a director in both New Zealand and Australia. He operates his own consultancy business with clients including Ports of Auckland and government agencies.
Jennifer Kerr was appointed to the New Zealand Rugby Board in 2020. Kerr brings over 25 years of global experience as a senior executive and in New Zealand, Europe and North America, most recently as a Board member of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the Counties Manukau Rugby Union and Deputy Chair of Callaghan Innovation. Kerr’s specialities include strategy development, Health and Safety and executive selection and succession and she is currently completing a Masters of Security and Crime Science.
Bailey Mackey was elected to the New Zealand Rugby Board at the 2020 Annual General Meeting. Mackey is also the Founder and CEO of Pango Productions – a privately owned film and television company, as well as the founder of tech startup and online production management tool KAHA. Mackey is the representative for the Creative sector on the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council. In 2017, he was named Māori Entrepreneur of the Year.
Shaun Nixon was elected to the New Zealand Rugby Board in 2019. His previous rugby experience includes roles as Chair of North Harbour Rugby Union (2015-2019) and as a Director of the Blues (2017-2019). He has also chaired North Harbour Rugby Audit and Risk Committees and the Commercial Committees from (2012 to 2015) and prior to his New Zealand Rugby appointment was Chair of Audit and Risk and Commercial Committees for the Blues.
Shaun is an entrepreneur and a qualified Chartered Accountant with over 30 years’ experience. He is a founding partner of Nixon Cate Chartered Accountants and is also owner of Total Storage Limited which is a nationwide self-storage company.
NZR has two Officers: The President and Vice President, who represent NZR and New Zealand at important functions and events, locally and globally. The President and Vice President (along with the Chief Executive Officer) attend New Zealand Rugby Board Meetings, although they are not considered Board Members and may not vote on Board matters.
These positions are elected for two year terms. In 2019, Bill Osborne became President while Max Spence was elected Vice President.
Bill Osborne has an extensive business background including roles as Group Manager International for New Zealand Post, CEO of Quotable Value New Zealand, inaugural Chair of 2 Degrees Mobile and chair of CoreLogic New Zealand. He has served on the New Zealand Maori Rugby Board and is a former board member of the Sports Foundation, Hillary Commission and SPARC. Osborne, All Black #744, played 48 times for the All Blacks between 1975 and 1982, including 16 Tests and for the Māori All Blacks.
After graduating from Lincoln College (now University) in 1976 Max Spence has committed his professional career to the agricultural and horticultural sectors. In May 2019 he completed 35 years’ service with Fruitfed Supplies, a part of PGG Wrightson. He stepped down as the National Manager of Fruitfed Supplies in June 2019. He was Chair of the Nelson Bays Rugby Union from 1996 to 2005, Chair of the Tasman Rugby Union for the period 2006 to 2008 and was on the Board of Crusaders Franchise Ltd from 1999 to 2010. He is a life member of the Nelson Bays Sub Union and in 2013 became the first Life Member of the Tasman Rugby Union.
The New Zealand Rugby Patron fills an honorary role as the figurehead for the organisation. Throughout the 20th Century the Governor General traditionally held the role of Patron. Former All Blacks Captain Sir Brian Lochore was Patron until his passing in August 2019, and Ian Kirkpatrick, was elected as his successor at the NZR Annual General Meeting in 2020. Kirkpatrick was an All Black (# 666) from 1967 to 1977, playing in 38 Test Matches, including nine as Captain between 1972 and 1974. He was made a Member of the British Empire for services to rugby in 1980 and inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2003. He is also Patron of his local rugby club in Poverty Bay and remains an active supporter of club and representative rugby.