Sharks confirm Smit’s appointment as CEO

April 16, 2013
Posted by

The Sharks have confirmed the appointment of John Smit as CEO of the union.

Release

The Board of Directors of The Sharks (Pty) Ltd are pleased to announce the appointment of Mr John Smit as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Sharks (Pty) Ltd, effective 1st July 2013. John takes over the reins from current CEO, Mr Brian van Zyl who will mentor John until his pre-agreed retirement date of 28th February 2014.

Having joined The Sharks on the 1st February 1994, Brian van Zyl will have served The Sharks with distinction for 20 years. With his sound administration and business knowledge, he has worked tirelessly to ensure that The Sharks have become not only one of the most financially sound unions but also a sporting brand of international acclaim. He has commanded the respect of the South African Rugby Union, team management, past and present players, staff of The Sharks (Pty) Ltd and the other stakeholders whom he has interacted with over the years.

Mr Stephen Saad, the Chairman of The Sharks Board of Directors, says, “On behalf of the Board of The Sharks (Pty) Ltd, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Brian for his invaluable contribution to The Sharks. His knowledge, experience and understanding of the game and its administration is outstanding. At the end of his tenure, he leaves The Sharks in good stead and we salute him for the many years of dedication, commitment and service that he has given, not only to The Sharks (Pty) Ltd, but to rugby in South Africa.

“In the past 2 decades under his stewardship, The Sharks have become the most followed provincial rugby franchise in the southern hemisphere. He has the respect of both supporters and adversaries alike. Brian, we salute your unwavering service to The Sharks and thank you for your continued support including the mentorship of John.”

“John Smit’s appointment marks the dawn of a new and exciting era at The Sharks (Pty) Ltd,” said Saad. We look forward to welcoming the favourite son of South African Rugby to his new role as CEO. We pledge our support and commitment to him and have every confidence that he will embrace his new role, with the same leadership, spirit and vigour that he displayed as the most capped Springbok captain and player of all time.”

Having spent thirteen years of his professional career with The Sharks, John makes a welcome return to a province that he loves and where it all began for him. He has become the most respected and decorated rugby player in South African history and his achievements both on and off the field are well documented. He is a natural leader and has an innate ability to rally his troops and get the best out of his team. When he takes up his new position, John will inherit an experienced management support team at The Sharks, who will offer him guidance and advice as he settles into his new position.

To this end, Leigh Heard who has spent 21 years with The Sharks (Pty) Ltd as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) will assume the responsibility of Chief Operating Officer (COO). Leigh’s role will include both financial and commercial functions and will help provide continuity and preserve the corporate memory of the successful Sharks management team.

The Sharks Head Coach, John Plumtree has stated, “On behalf of team management and the players, I extend our congratulations to John on his appointment. Over the years, many of us have shared special memories with John and we look forward to working with and supporting him in his new capacity.”

The Sharks current CEO, Brian van Zyl has said, “I wish to congratulate John on his appointment and wish him the very best in his new role. He was an inspirational captain and team man and I know that I leave The Sharks in good hands. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board of The Sharks (Pty) Ltd, stakeholders and my staff for their assistance and support over the years. I have a few months to go before retirement and will use this time to ensure that the black and white baton is securely placed in John’s hands and so contribute to the successful Sharks legacy. I leave a proud man.”

Stephen Saad concluded by saying, “John is currently playing for Saracens in England and upon his return to South Africa, The Sharks will hold a press conference.”

John Smit’s Stats and Achievements

  • Was capped 111 times for the Springboks in a 12 year international career (2000-2011);
  • Represented South Africa at three Rugby World Cups;
  • Captained the Springboks on 83 occasions;
  • Represented The Sharks on 186 occasions (61 Currie Cup and 125 Super Rugby caps) between 1998 and 2011;
  • Captained the Springboks to Rugby World Cup glory in 2007;
  • Tri-Nations winner in 2004 and 2009;
  • Captained the Springboks in their series win against the British and Irish Lions in 2009;

Retired as the most-capped Springbok of all time and the most-capped international captain of all-time.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to MySpace

Tags: , ,

10 Comments

  1. avatar Craven says:
    April 16th, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Good news.

    Welcome back John.

  2. avatar Timeo says:
    April 16th, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    What experience or qualifications does he possess that would apply to running a large business?

    They don’t list any!

  3. avatar Timeo says:
    April 16th, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I noticed on Saturday, the Crusaders do this thing where one player always tries to move a step beyond the tackled player. The tackler will always try to get up in front of the ball in a way to block a cleaner; A player on his feet, that’s not going for the ball, will step over the ball as to promote the forming of the ruck with the ball on the Crusaders’ side.

    Any opinions on the legality?

    Sure you may drive beyond the ball in a ruck, but may you drive beyond the ball before the ruck is formed?

  4. avatar Timeo says:
    April 16th, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Reply to Timeo @ 2:17 pm:
    wrong thread! :bangheadt:

  5. avatar Craven says:
    April 16th, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Reply to Timeo @ 2:07 pm:

    Business wise the company will probably be run by the CFO and COO.

  6. avatar Timeo says:
    April 16th, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Reply to Craven @ 3:15 pm:

    Then what will JS do? Figurehead?

    He may to fine as a CEO, but there’s nothing in his CV that says he will. It’s hardly a position to take gamble with. In business, the only guys that gets to be CEOs without qualifications or experience are entrepreneurs that find their own companies.

    The Sharks have made this decision based on sentiment.
    Which is a bad move.

  7. avatar Boertjie says:
    April 16th, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Reply to Timeo @ 4:58 pm:

    :agree:

  8. avatar Boertjie says:
    April 16th, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Sharks assistant coach Grant Bashford admits the Bok training camp, in the midst of their Super Rugby campaign, has been a “disruption”.
    ———
    STFU. It is affecting all franchises.
    What makes you so special?
    :support:

  9. avatar Craven says:
    April 17th, 2013 at 7:30 am

    Reply to Timeo @ 4:58 pm:

    Nope, I do not agree. John as CEO will be in a position to steer the franchise in the right direction with rugby related issues. How the hell does an experienced businessman all of a sudden have the rugby related experience to steer a union or franchise?

    The ideal model would be to leave all rugby related issues to real rugby men, and who is better than John, and leave the business side to corporate jockeys.

  10. avatar Timeo says:
    April 17th, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Reply to Craven @ 7:30 am:

    Just look how great this is working out for the Lions.

    Their “rugby man”, beloved ex-player, leader at least had some business experience before he took the reins.

Switch to our mobile site