New man to lead RL Commercial

The Rugby Football League and Super League (Europe) Limited have appointed the first Chair of the new joint venture company that will oversee the commercial development of Rugby League in the coming years.

Frank Slevin (pictured), who is also the Independent Chair of British Cycling, has been appointed to the position as the first Chair of RL Commercial, the new company created to drive Rugby League’s commercial development as part of the realignment of the sport’s governance.

The new appointee has worked in senior banking roles with BNP Paribas, Citigroup and HSBC and he was the Executive Chairman of House of Fraser for more than four years from 2014-18. He is also the Chair of the UK National Committee on China.

Joining him on the board will be IMG Media Head of Sport Ed Mallaburn, which reflects the 12-year strategic partnership between IMG, the RFL and SLE, which was confirmed earlier this year. Maximising the value and benefits of this partnership will be a key function of the new joint venture company.

Recruitment of a further four non-executive directors is ongoing, with the expectation that the full board will be finalised by October 2022 ahead of the company being fully operational on 1 January 2023. The board will oversee work to develop Rugby League’s value across all revenue-driving areas.

In a joint statement, Simon Johnson, (Chair of the RFL) and Ken Davy (the Chair of Super League Europe), said: “We are excited that the board of our new aligned joint venture, RL Commercial, is beginning to take shape with these two significant appointments.

“Frank Slevin is an outstanding business leader who impressed us with his experience, intelligence, decency and commitment. He is passionate about using his experience to help us build the board, grow the team and commercialise our sport. We very much look forward to working closely alongside Frank.

“We are also delighted that IMG has nominated Ed Mallaburn to serve on the board. Ed is a senior leader within IMG and will help to ensure that the relationship between IMG and RL Commercial is strong at every level. His wealth of experience in the commercial development of sport around the world will hugely enhance the board’s discussions.”

Mr Slevin was appointed the first Independent Chair of British Cycling in January 2018, initially for a three-year term, which was extended in 2021 to a second three-year term running until January 2024. He will combine his non-executive role with RL Commercial with his existing position at British Cycling.