Rugby Australia boss Marinos quits post

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Rugby Australia have started the search for a new CEO after Andy Marinos announced his shock resignation just four months out from the World Cup.

Marinos will depart the role next month, with the move coming just days after the governing body reported an $8.2 million surplus which earned the chief executive praise for his work in putting the embattled organisation back in the black.

RA confirmed the news on Monday, saying Marinos wanted out to "pursue new opportunities" and that the recruitment process was already underway.

Board director and former Wallabies flanker Phil Waugh is a possible internal candidate while ex-NRL boss Todd Greenberg, who heads the Australian Cricketers' Association, has also been linked to position.

Despite the game's global showpiece kicking off in France in September, Marinos said he felt the timing was right for a change.

"The foundations have been established and the business is now well-prepared to test the market for private equity investment, making it the right time for me to move on," he said in a statement.

"Importantly, I will leave with the knowledge that RA is in a stronger position than when I joined, and proud of what has been achieved in my tenure as CEO."

Zimbabwe-born Marinos joined RA in February 2021 from SANZAAR, with the code in Australia ravaged by the commercial and operational impacts of COVID-19.

He steered the organisation from a $27.1m loss in 2020 to an $8.2m profit in 2022, announced at last week's AGM.

As well as financial security, Marinos helped RA win hosting duties for the men's 2027 Rugby World Cup and the women's edition two years later.

A high-performance review is currently being conducted into the Wallabies' poor Test results in 2022, however Marinos has already enacted change, having helped bring Eddie Jones in as coach in January.

RA chair Hamish McLennan thanked Marinos for his contribution.

"We asked Andy to draw upon his impressive career experience and extensive global relationships to re-establish rugby as a leading code in Australia - he has delivered on this and been fundamental in the turnaround of the business," McLennan said in a statement.

"Andy will leave RA having delivered several key projects, including the finalisation of the 2027 and 2029 Rugby World Cups, locking in the 2025 British and Irish Lions Tour, planning for a new contracting model for the professional game, implementation of strategy to professionalise Women's XVs Rugby, and a new four-year Collective Bargaining Agreement for our professional men's and women's players.

"On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Andy for his contribution to RA. We wish him well with his future endeavours."

Jones was in Melbourne on Monday morning for a Bledisloe Cup media opportunity although it's believed he was unaware of the announcement at the time.

Marinos will remain at RA until mid-June to assist with the transition of his role.