SRI Tapped by Rugby Canada to Lead CEO Search

January 26, 2022 – London-based executive recruiting firm SRI has been chosen to find the next chief executive officer for Rugby Canada, the national governing body of the sport of Rugby Union in Canada. Managing partner David James is leading the assignment. SRI was selected for its track record of complex global sport CEO appointments involving multiple stakeholders and its demonstrated understanding of the structure, key relationships, and business of sport in general and rugby, in particular, said Rugby Canada. “The SRI team brings broad expertise across sport and other relevant target sectors including media, technology and entertainment,” said Sally Dennis, chair of Rugby Canada. “We were particularly impressed by SRIs quick grasp of the Canadian rugby landscape.”

“We are delighted to be partnering with Rugby Canada on this critical appointment and look forward to working with Sally Dennis and her Board,” said David James, global head of sport for SRI. “We have been excited and motivated by their outlook on the future for the sport in Canada and will conduct a genuinely global search to find a CEO capable of delivering that vision.”

A Seamless Transition

Outgoing CEO Allen Vansen will complete his time with Rugby Canada on Jan. 31. An interim CEO will be named this month to ensure a seamless transition to new leadership, with the new CEO expected to be in place by mid-2022.

Rugby Canada is headquartered at the Al Charron National Training Centre in Langford, British Columbia, with staff also working from Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa. The organization administers and operates men’s and women’s senior and junior national programs in both rugby 15s and 7s, as well as govern the club and community game for more than 30,000 registered participants from coast to coast in conjunction with 10 Provincial Union members. Rugby Canada business operations, programs and events are delivered nationwide, including the internationally recognized HSBC Canada Sevens annual tournaments.

SRI is a global executive search and consulting firm focused on the sport, esports, media and entertainment, fashion, and sporting goods industries. The firm’s services include executive search, emerging leaders search, hiring strategy, board assessment, succession planning, salary benchmarking, new market entry consulting and multi-vacancy projects.

Related: SRI Assisting Commonwealth Games Federation in CEO Search

Based in London, Mr. James manages and delivers senior executive search and consulting services work for a wide range of clients, with a particular focus on national governing bodies, sports clubs, agencies, brands, rights holders, digital media outlets and broadcasters. Before joining SRI in 2015, he was global head of sport and leisure for CTPartners, which had acquired his previous firm, Amrop Augmentum. Before that, he was managing director of sport for Compass Group; senior vice president, Europe, for Repucom International; and head of commercial for the Scottish Rugby Union.


Last summer, SRI acquired Marquee Search, an executive search firm serving the sports sector that has placed over 1,000 mid-senior executives. The partnership brings together Marquee’s 20 years of North American sports expertise with SRI’s 20 years of serving the converging sport, media, entertainment, and technology landscape across four continents.

The acquisition saw Jeff Yocom (formerly founder and president of Marquee Search) and Tyler Nelson (formerly director, executive search, Marquee Search) joining SRI to bolster SRI’s global sports practice. They are both based in Portland, OR, further strengthening the existing North American team.

“Jeff’s shared passion for building trusted long-term relationships with clients along with his deep experience of working in the sport and entertainment sectors make him an outstanding fit for SRI,” said Jay Hussey, SRI’s CEO, North America, at the time. “Tyler is a strong executive search operator, and they will both play a significant role in the expansion of SRI’s capability here in North America. Jeff and Tyler join Paul Chidley, SRI’s partner based out of Los Angeles. Jeff, Paul and Tyler bring the North American Sports market a powerful and highly effective team.”

Related: SRI Assists British Gymnastics with CEO Search

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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