He was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the Scottish Rugby Union in February 2004, after several years of successful marketing within the SRU. He was nicknamed "Firework Phil", because he provided lavish firework displays and entertainment before rugby games at Murrayfield Stadium. These were criticised by Sir Clive Woodward as "more like a pop concert than a rugby match" after the Calcutta Cup game in Edinburgh in 2004, but Anderton was unrepentant on both counts. Anderton resigned as CEO in January 2005 after David Mackay (Chairman of the SRU) was forced to resign by the SRU General Committee.
From March 2005 to October 2005, he served as the Chief Executive of the Scottish Premier League football club Hearts. Anderton's dismissal as chief executive by majority owner Vladimir Romanov prompted Hearts chairman, George Foulkes, to resign in protest. After leaving Hearts, Anderton was appointed chairman of the ATP World Tour Finals, the largest indoor tennis tournament in the world. Anderton then served as chief executive of the Al-Jazira Club in Abu Dhabi, but resigned due to personal reasons. In February 2013, he was appointed to the board of the political campaign group Better Together.
- "Ex-Hearts chief Phil Anderton joins pro-UK group". Edinburgh Evening News. Johnston Publishing. 15 February 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
- "Phil Anderton joins Better Together team". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. 13 February 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
- "Anderton demands change". The Scotsman. Johnston Publishing. 24 February 2004. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
- Reid, Alasdair (13 January 2005). "Anderton adds to SRU turmoil". Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
- "Hearts in turmoil as duo depart". BBC Sport. BBC. 31 October 2005. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
- Affleck, Kevin (2 November 2011). "Phil Anderton's departure 'no surprise' to Al Jazira". The National. Abu Dhabi Media. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
- "Expect some fireworks when Phil gives speech". Edinburgh Evening News. 8 February 2006.