David Moffett

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David Moffett

David Leslie Moffett (born May 17, 1949) is an executive businessman who was the group chief executive of the Welsh Rugby Union from 2002 until 2005 and Australia's National Rugby League [1] from 1999 until 2001. He currently serves on the board of New Conservative, a minor right-wing political party in New Zealand.


David Leslie Moffett was born in 1949 in Doncaster in Yorkshire, England. Having spent a large amount of his childhood in Kenya he later emigrated to Brisbane, Australia in 1963.

Previous employment[edit]

Waste Management[edit]

Before entering management in the sporting arena, David had a long period in waste management, both with major companies in Australia and starting his own businesses, from contract cleaning to clinical waste and landfill.


He is also one of the chief architects of SANZAR (South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby) in 1996.

Prior to his job at the WRU, he worked as executive director of the New South Wales Rugby Union, chief executive at the New Zealand Rugby Union, chief executive at Australia's National Rugby League from 1999–2001 and chief executive of Sport England from January 2002 - 31 March 2003 earning £140,000 a year.

WRU Group Chief Executive Appointment[edit]

He took up his post at the WRU on 2 December 2002 having beaten off over 100 other applicants to the job, and immediately set about controlling the WRU's finances who were by this time heavily in debt (around £55 million) due to poor management of funds and expenditure on facilities such as the Millennium Stadium. Moffett created an 18-man board of directors, replacing a 27-man committee as part of his streamlining of administration at the Union.

Moffett also gained backing to dismiss the Wales 'A' Team, long considered an important development side playing at a level just below that of full international level, in order to save money and develop rugby players at a higher level.

Regional Rugby[edit]

However the most controversial decision Moffett took was the introduction of regional rugby to Wales. After much discussion with the clubs, he got his wish and for the 2003-04 season five regions were created, some jointly owned by two of the former clubs and two (Llanelli Scarlets and Cardiff Blues) were owned by only one club, prompting complaints of favouritism from supporters of the other clubs. During the 2003-04 season 50% of the ownership of the Celtic Warriors region was given to the WRU by Leighton Samuel who had acquired the Pontypridd share because that club was effectively bankrupt. At the end of the 2003-04 season Leighton Samuel, the owner of the other 50% of the region sold his share to the WRU. Following the WRU's decision to become 100% shareholders in the club; they found it had debts of about £300,000 although payment of most of that was able to be deferred. With the lowest support base of all the new provincial teams and determined to eradicate Welsh Rugby's financial difficulties, the Celtic Warriors team was dissolved leaving just four regional teams; this had been Moffett's original intention. Moffett was able to dissolve the Celtic Warriors with the help of WRU Chairman David Pickering by getting the remaining four regions to give £312,500 each to buy off Leighton Samuel. Samuel alleged that he only sold his share in the Warriors to the WRU because they agreed to keep the region going. The WRU denied this but Leighton Samuel took them to court and the WRU settled out of court. The regions each receive over £3 million a year from the WRU, although originally Llanelli Scarlets and Cardiff Blues received less than the others, as a punishment for going alone.

With regard to the debt caused by the Millennium Stadium, on 24 November 2004, it was announced that Moffett had secured a deal with Barclays Bank to repay £45 million over 35 years and for the remaining £10 million of the debt to incur no interest and not to be repaid unless the WRU or the Millennium Stadium Plc default or sell the stadium or enter into partnership with a third party within the said period of thirty-five years. As part of this deal with Barclays, the WRU Group cleared its debt to BT for the land on which the stadium was built. He also secured permission from the Millennium Commission, who had provided a grant for the construction of the stadium to obtain a sponsor for naming rights of the stadium on condition that the word Millennium remained in the name.

WRU Group Chief Executive Resignation[edit]

Moffett signed an extension to his contract which would see him remain at the WRU until 2008 in March 2004. However, on 29 September 2005 he announced his resignation to take effect on 31 December 2005. He cited personal and family reasons for his departure.

Under his command the WRU went from making a loss of £3.7 million in the year he joined, to making a profit of £3.6 million in the year he left. The WRU decided not to replace him, instead sharing his duties between the Millennium Stadium manager, Paul Sergeant and WRU Chief Executive Steve Lewis. Although following the Mike Ruddock affair in February 2006, the WRU decided to replace him with Roger Lewis.

Post WRU[edit]

David Moffett now lives in Sydney where he runs his own change management business, writes for newspapers and has a weekly radio spot on sports radio. Hobbies include photography and classic cars.


  1. ^ Hadfield, Dave (30 November 1999). "Moffett insists conversion is no miracle". The Independent. UK: Independent News and Media Limited. Retrieved 2009-12-24.
Preceded by
Neil Whittaker
National Rugby League CEO
Succeeded by
David Gallop