NZRL Chief Executive resigns to put family ahead of career

Phil Holden

For almost three years, many have been pleased with the work and effort that Phil Holden has brought to the New Zealand Rugby League Chief Executive portfolio.

But the road has been tough for Holden, who has a young family, and he has made a decision to step down from the role in order to spend more time with his family.

Effectively putting his family before his career, he is at ease with his decision but grateful for the opportunity presented to him.

“When I was appointed, this was really a dream job for me,” Holden said.

“Becoming CEO of a national sporting organisation was always something I aspired to, especially New Zealand Rugby League, given my past interaction with the game and many of its stakeholders.

“It has been everything I expected and more, but I also have a young family that I want to give more of my attention and energy to. As a family, we now have a great opportunity to make a lifestyle choice that will set us up as our girls get older and beyond.”

For Holden, life is about balance and finding that is what he aims to achieve in order to spend more time with his family.

“It’s obviously a difficult decision from a career perspective, but I want to explore more of a portfolio of work options that will provide the right harmony between family and work,” said Holden.

“As an organisation, we always say we are about whanau and family comes first, so for me, this is very consistent with those values.”

Holden’s work with the stakeholders of New Zealand rugby league and his work to improve their grassroots did not go unnoticed, and were praised by NZRL Chairman, Gary Fissenden.

“One of Phil’s biggest contributions during his time has been strengthening our relationship with zone boards, where he dramatically lifted communications and engagement,” said Fissenden.

In the interim, Chief Financial Officer Alex Hayton will take over the role whilst the NZRL begin their search for a new CEO.

“One of the key messages we’ve received from all our key stakeholders is their confidence in NZRL leadership,” says Fissenden.

“Alex has been with us through all of our issues – he is totally across all of our strategies and knows all of our key stakeholders.

“He is perfectly equipped to ensure we stay on track while we find a new CEO.”

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