5 Jun 2019

NZ Rugby boss Steve Tew quits

12:51 pm on 5 June 2019

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew has announced his resignation after 12 years in the role.

Watch Steve Tew's press conference here:

His departure will bring the curtain down on a 25-year long career in rugby administration.

Tew has worked at New Zealand Rugby since 2001, originally joining the Canterbury Rugby Union in 1995 as the sport entered the professional world.

He will leave in December but NZR chairman Brent Impey told reporters at a press conference in Wellington that they'd like to get the new appointment by the end of the Rugby World Cup for a smooth transition period.

Tew said he had been mulling leaving for a while, but it was a conversation with Impey in March that convinced him the time was right.

"The end of this cycle is perfect... get through this significant debate we're having about competition structures (at the international and Super Rugby level), get our broadcast and content sales completed, get through a Rugby World Cup and then pass on to someone else and take my rather large shadow out of the place in a very content and happy way.

"There are new and exciting changes coming as a result of the upcoming, new international calendar; a changing broadcast environment; as well as a new All Blacks Head Coach to be appointed; so it's the right time for me.

"I've not made this decision lightly - it's a job I love and I consider it an absolute privilege - but it is for those reasons, that I believe the time is right to step down.

"I'm excited to be looking at new opportunities, and I hope to still be able to contribute to rugby in some way," Tew said.

Steve Tew talks about his retirement as NZ Rugby head.

Steve Tew talks about his retirement as NZ Rugby head. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Tew was not long in the role when the All Blacks suffered their shock loss to France in the 2007 Rugby World Cup in Cardiff. He said that, along with the player behaviour issues in 2016 were some of the biggest adversarial challenges of his tenure.

"Again, [it's] not what we wanted in our game, but we took that as an opportunity, we set up a very thorough independent review and now we've got a programme of work that if we carry it on I think will change this country for the better."

Of all the challenges Tew said he's faced, it was the aftermath of the 2011 Canterbury earthquake that was the toughest time for him in the job.

"The day we had to tell the mayor (Bob Parker) in the first instance, then the Canterbury public, what they knew was a matter of fact and that was that they couldn't host a World Cup in that city after the earthquakes... that moment was very difficult.

"It's probably the hardest... wasn't the hardest decision to make because it was the most obvious but it was a very difficult decision to relay, but we bounced back from that and the way the country hosted (the world cup) was a huge highlight."

Impey paid tribute to Tew, describing him as "one of the most influential figures in international rugby".

"He has enhanced New Zealand's reputation on the world stage, overseen incredible successes from our teams in black over the years and also led a team that has significantly grown the global profiles of those teams.

"Under Steve's stewardship, New Zealand Rugby holds all four Rugby World Cups for both men's and women's Fifteens and Sevens teams, which is a remarkable achievement," Impey said.

Impey said it will be an international search for Tew's replacement and is hopeful a number of strong female candidates will apply for the role.