The Western Force has confirmed the appointment of Niamh O’Connor as the club’s new Chief Executive Officer.
Having acted in the role for the past four months, O’Connor was officially appointed today following a competitive recruitment process.
O’Connor, who hails from Ireland, moved to Perth in 2011 and has been involved in WA community rugby for over a decade.
Western Force Chairman Anthony Flannery said since her appointment as acting CEO O’Connor had brought a level of strategic vision to the role which set her apart.
“Niamh started at the grassroots of our great game and has worked her way up through sheer determination and skill,” Flannery said.
“Not only does Niamh intimately understand community rugby and what needs to be done to grow participation at the club level, she has set the course for the ongoing success and sustainability of the Western Force for many years to come.
“This includes a commitment to invest in and deliver high performance facilities and personnel, growing memberships and deeper and more meaningful engagement with our passionate fan base: the Sea of Blue."
O’Connor has vast experience in the construction industry, as well as consulting, along with governance experience from a three-year term on the Perth Symphony Orchestra board.
Rugby runs through O’Connor’s veins; she played socially in her homeland before serving in various roles at UWA Rugby Club, shortly after arriving in Australia.
In 2021, O’Connor was appointed to the RugbyWA board of directors with a focus on junior participation and to grow the game. In June 2023 she joined the Force board as a community representative with a view to unlocking the club’s potential.
O’Connor said she was thrilled about the opportunity to lead the Force ahead of an exciting period for Australian rugby and the club.
“This is an incredible opportunity and I feel a significant responsibility to the game and the club to drive us forward,” she said.
“Australian rugby is entering an exciting period with two home World Cups on the horizon. We want the code to thrive in WA and we want the Force to truly connect and tap into those opportunities while realising our own potential on the field in our men’s and women’s programs. The opportunity for Western Australia on the global stage is enormous.”
Rugby Australia CEO Phil Waugh endorsed O’Connor’s appointment and was excited to work alongside her.
“On behalf of Rugby Australia, I’d like to congratulate Niamh on her permanent appointment as CEO at the Western Force,” Waugh said.
“Niamh has a long-standing and meaningful connection with community rugby as a volunteer, participant and administrator.
“We look forward to continuing to work with Niamh to support the growth of Rugby in Western Australia, and to strengthen the all-important bonds between the community and professional game.”