Andrew Abdo is the National Rugby League’s acting CEO , filling the position vacated by Todd Greenberg who left the league earlier this year. As chief commercial officer of the Australian Rugby League Commission since 2016, Andrew has played a key role in developing the league’s business strategies.
Shit. The guy has been ordinary at best with the media. He will get chewed up.
Not a brilliant orator by any means ?
‘Best CEO ever’: Abdo officially replaces Greenberg as NRL chief
By Adrian Proszenko
Updated September 3, 2020 — 12.14pm first published at 11.07am
Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys predicts Andrew Abdo will be the game’s greatest-ever chief executive after officially unveiling him as Todd Greenberg’s replacement on Thursday.
Abdo has been in the role in an interim capacity following Greenberg’s departure in April and has sufficiently impressed to be handed the job full-time. The game’s former chief commercial officer has had a strong working relationship with V’landys and has also won over influential club figures over the past five months.
His appointment on Thursday provides the NRL with stability at a time when there has been a churn of sporting executives across Australian sports.
V’landys gave Abdo a huge vote of confidence during Thursday’s media announcement.
“Andrew has impressed the commission while he has been the interim CEO with his commercial acumen, his calmness and his work ethic has been outstanding,” V’landys said. "We didn’t need to look far.
“I would say to you today, and I hope I’m right and I know I’m going to be right, that Andrew will be the best CEO the NRL ever had.”
South African born and raised, Abdo is a chartered accountant who worked for Deloitte in Johannesburg, Bermuda and Sydney before he joined the NRL.
"I’m going to start off with a quote from one of my heroes growing up as a child in South Africa and that’s Nelson Mandela: ‘Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It creates hope.’
“This is an absolute honour and the highlight of my career,” Abdo said.
Abdo’s top priority is to overhaul the cost structure of the game, a process which began earlier in the week when the positions of executives Nick Weeks and Liz Deegan were made redundant.
“We need to remove costs, we need to secure revenues and we need to reset the culture inside our game,” Abdo said.
"More trust, more transparency and more action … Cost cutting has been an ongoing process for this whole season. We have removed significant costs in 2020 just to survive.
“We are aiming to remove $50 million (in costs) from the business in order for us to be sustainable going forward.”
The 43 year old added: “I’ve been passionate about sport my entire life. When my wife and I decided to move to Australia it was rugby league that helped create our networks. Almost all of my friends and business relationships have come from rugby league.”
With thanks to @SoulofSydney here’s the text from an article from 4 months ago
Interim NRL boss Andrew Abdo isn’t planning to be a stop-gap measure
By Adrian Proszenko
April 21, 2020 — 11.33am
In seeking to determine whether Andrew Abdo can handle the hotseat that is the NRL chief executive’s role better than his predecessor, look no further than their respective performances in courtroom 18C of the Federal Court just a year ago.
Called as witnesses to a legal challenge of the NRL’s “no fault” stand-down rule, Abdo and Todd Greenberg, who left the NRL on Monday, were subject to the ultimate grillings in the Phillip St courtroom. Greenberg’s reputation for handling curly questions preceded him, but this was the first opportunity to witness Abdo in the face of a blowtorch.
Rugby league legend Phil Gould says the NRL is in great hands despite the resignation of league CEO Todd Greenberg on Monday
Much to the surprise of those in attendance - journalists, lawyers, former players and other interested onlookers - Abdo gave a better account of himself. Over the course of the four-day hearing, some of those subpoenaed crumbled under the pressure of a relentless cross-examination by a Queen’s Counsel. Even Greenberg, always unflappable in the storm that is a media scrum, had several uncomfortable moments during his six excruciating hours on the stand. Abdo, meanwhile, emerged with his reputation enhanced.
Abdo can expect plenty more pressure to be applied in his new role. In taking over from Greenberg as the NRL’s interim chief executive, he has accepted the toughest role in Australian sport. Several club chief executives - including Brisbane’s Paul White, Melbourne’s Dave Donaghy, the Rabbitohs’ Blake Solly and Canberra’s Don Furner - have been mooted as potential long-term successors to Greenberg. All of them are capable and have their claims. But make no mistake - Abdo wants to make a go of it. It’s his job to lose.
Despite spending almost seven years as the NRL’s chief commercial officer, to some in league land Abdo remains an outsider. Born in South Africa, work has taken the accountant around the world, including a stint in Bermuda. However, the father of two - his son plays league and his daughter touch football - now considers himself very much an Australian.
Abdo declined to be interviewed for this story, but has previously told the Herald he fell in love with rugby league at first sight. It occurred on Good Friday of 2013, when a mate dragged him out to ANZ Stadium for a clash between the Rabbitohs and the Bulldogs. Well before Souths back Bryson Goodwin scored the match winner, Abdo was hooked. He may have been late to the party, but he now regards himself as a league man.
That he has ascended to the top job with the backing of Peter V’landys is significant. Previous relationships between the sport’s chairs and chief executives have been less cordial. Like V’landys, former ARLC chairman John Grant had his own falling out with Greenberg. Speaking to the Herald in March, when speculation over Greenberg’s future began in earnest, Grant offered: "So how should the relationship between the chair and the CEO work?
"They need to have a very good, strong and open relationship, which means they need to have a very transparent relationship.
“You have to take that as given that the chair and the CEO have to work together hand in glove.”
When V’landys flew to the United States earlier this year for a series of meetings - with Fox Corp chairman Lachlan Murdoch and tech giants including Facebook, Google and Amazon - he took Abdo rather than Greenberg. As Greenberg was being pushed out of the circle of trust, Abdo was being brought in. As Abdo himself states on his LinkedIn profile: “The formula for success is what you know multiplied by who you know.”
Souths celebrate a try to Bryson Goodwin
Posted 10 May 2013, 9:41pm
Bryson Goodwin of the Rabbitohs celebrates with his team mates after scoring a try during the round nine NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the North Queensland Cowboys at Olympic stadium on May 10, 2013.
Getty Images: Mark Kolbe