Fresh from their first Heineken Cup victory, Connacht rugby has signalled their intent by recruiting former WRU executive Alex Saul to fill the newly created role of Head of Marketing.
In what is seen as a major boost to Connacht Rugby’s off-field aspirations, Alex Saul was successfully poached from Wales by the Professional Games Board (PGB) in an executive search in the autumn of last year.
The Dublin man had been part of Welsh Rugby Union from late 2008 in the role of Group Sponsorship and Branding Manager and was recognised as making a major contribution to their commercial growth over the previous three years.
In his time with the Union he was responsible for their Rugby World Cup commercial programme, which included the RWC Kit Launch, and for overseeing delivery of the RBS 6 Nations and Autumn Series campaigns. He was also credited with introducing four FTSE 100 companies to the WRU’s partner programme and developing a number of new strategic partnerships.
He joins the Connacht team with a vast amount of industry knowledge and experience having previously worked at European Rugby’s HQ, ERC, over a four year period before joining the Welsh Rugby Union in 2008.
His arrival sees a restructure in the organisation where he will work alongside current Commercial Manager Fiona Keys. Well-respected Fiona, who moves to a new role focusing on commercial and sponsorship rights delivery, has been with the province for six years and has been commended for her work in bringing Connacht to its current level during that period. The two will work side-by-side to deliver on Connacht’s ambitious business plans.
Speaking on his recent appointment Alex said:
“I’m delighted to be here at Connacht Rugby. When the PGB approached me for this role (Head of Marketing) their belief and vision for the club made it a very easy decision for me to make the move across.”
“There is huge appetite for rugby in the province and I have been immediately struck by the passion and especially the loyalty of the fans here in the West of Ireland. That gives us a great base to work from and with the PGB’s support now is the time to drive the club to the next level.”
“I firmly believe that Connacht will become a force to be reckoned with both on and off the pitch and I will be working very closely with the PGB and Eric and his team to fully realise the potential here at the Sportsground.”
Speaking on behalf of the three man recruitment team, Professional Games Board member Damian Devaney said:
“We knew the work Alex had done for the WRU, and ERC before that, and we knew we needed someone of that calibre for this post. Alex’s experience and expertise in rugby specific marketing will be a huge asset to Connacht Rugby. We saw filling that role with someone of Alex’s pedigree as a top priority and we are very happy to have him in situ as we implement the next phase of our plans for Connacht Rugby.”