SRI tapped by Rugby Canada to lead CEO search

January 26, 2022 – London-based recruitment agency SRI has been chosen to find the next chief executive officer for Rugby Canada, the national governing body of Rugby Union sport in Canada. Managing partner David James leads the assignment. SRI was selected for its track record of complex global CEO appointments involving multiple stakeholders and its proven 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 in sports and other relevant target sectors, including media, technology and entertainment,” said Sally Dennis, President of Rugby Canada. “We were particularly impressed with SRI’s quick grasp of the Canadian rugby landscape.”

“We are delighted to partner with Rugby Canada on this pivotal appointment and look forward to working with Sally Dennis and her board,” said David James, Global Head of Sport for SRI. “We are excited and motivated by their view of the future of the sport in Canada and will be conducting a truly global quest to find a CEO who can deliver on that vision.”

A seamless transition

Outgoing CEO Allen Vansen will complete his time at Rugby Canada on January 31. An interim CEO will be appointed this month to ensure a seamless transition to new leadership, with the new CEO expected to take office in mid-2022.

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

SRI is a global executive search and consulting firm focused on the sports, esports, media and entertainment, fashion and sporting goods sectors. The company’s services include executive search, emerging leader search, hiring strategy, board review, succession planning, salary benchmarking, new market consulting and multi-vacancy projects.

Related: SRI Assists Commonwealth Games Federation In Search For CEOs

Based in London, Mr. James manages and provides senior executive search and advisory services to a wide range of clients, with a particular focus on national governing bodies, sports clubs, agencies, brands, rights holders, digital media and broadcasters. Prior to joining SRI in 2015, he was Global Head of Sports and Leisure for CTPartners, which acquired his previous company, Amrop Augmentum. Before that, he was director of sports at Compass Group; senior vice president of Europe for Repucom International; and head of advertising for the Scottish Rugby Union.


Last summer, SRI acquired Marquee Search, an executive recruiting firm serving the sports industry that has placed more than 1,000 mid-senior executives. The partnership brings together Marquee’s 20 years of North American sports expertise with SRI’s 20 years of service to the converging sports, media, entertainment and technology landscapes on four continents.

With the acquisition, Jeff Yocom (former founder and president of Marquee Search) and Tyler Nelson (former director, executive search, Marquee Search) joined SRI to strengthen 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 customers, along with his deep experience working in the sports and entertainment sectors, make him a great fit for SRI,” said Jay Hussey, then CEO of SRI, North America. “Tyler is a strong executive search operator and they will both play an important role in expanding SRI’s capacity here in North America. Jeff and Tyler join Paul Chidley, SRI’s Los Angeles partner. Jeff, Paul and Tyler bring a powerful and highly effective team to the North American sports market.”

Related: SRI Helps UK Gymnastics Search for CEO

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

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