From a Tokyo, Japan base Rob Abernethy oversees Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) / World Rugby’s day-to-day management of the 2019 Tournament. He also leads a growing and dedicated team in a slew of areas to ensure success with the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee on a daily basis, for example, in Rugby & Team Services, Venues & Events Operations, Broadcast, Marketing and Communications, Digital Content, Commercial, Ticketing, Technology, Finance and Administration, Tournament Guests etc.
His 20-year experience in major domestic and international sporting events, national sports development and competition administration, brand marketing and managerial expertise in Asia, UK, USA and Australia has shaped Abernethy as a leading authority in major events, venues and sports management. Abernethy’s achievements to date showcase his diverse career – from State Development Officer for Swimming Victoria to managing venues and operations for several summer and winter Olympic & Paralympic Games, two Rugby World Cups and a Commonwealth Games to Team Manager of the U/19s Australian national rugby team at the 2005 Rugby World Cup, South Africa. He also operationally established and then managed the Hyundai A-League professional men’s football competition from 2005-09 and then led Football Federations Australia’s successful confederation Bid for the AFC Asian Cup 2015.
One of the key highlights in his career was the successful project management of over 3,500 staff across two venues (Aquatics Centre and Water Polo Arena) at the London 2012 Games, which he efficiently delivered six test events and both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
On the sporting front, Rob also represented and Captained Australia at swimming at FINA World Short Course Championships (1993 / Spain, 2000 / Greece), Pan Pacific Championships (1991 / Canada) and FINA World Cups (1991, 1993-94, 1998, 1999 & 2000). In recognition for services to the sport of swimming, Rob was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 from the Honourable Prime Minister, Mr. John Howard.
Career path snapshot:
• OCT 2016 TO PRESENT
RUGBY WORLD CUP 2019 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – WORLD RUGBY
• JAN 2013 TO OCT 2016
DEP. MANAGING DIRECTOR, SINGAPORE SPORTS HUB – GLOBAL SPECTRUM ASIA
• APR 2011 TO OCT 2012
VENUE GENERAL MANAGER – WATER PARK & AQUATICS – LONDON 2012 OLYMPIC & PARALYMPIC GAMES
• MAR 2009 TO MAR 2011
HEAD OF AFC ASIAN CUP 2015 BID – FOOTBALL FEDERATION AUSTRALIA
• APR 2007 TO MAR 2009
HEAD OF A-LEAGUE OPERATIONS – FOOTBALL FEDERATION AUSTRALIA
• APR 2007 TO APR 2007
A-LEAGUE OPERATIONS MANAGER – FOOTBALL FEDERATION AUSTRALIA
• MAR 2005 TO APR 2005
TEAM MANAGER – U/19 RUGBY WORLD CUP 2005 – AUSTRALIAN RUGBY UNION (ARU)
• MAR 2004 TO MAR 2005
GROUP PROJECT MANAGER – BRANDADVANTAGE
• SEP 2002 TO NOV 2003
VENUE MANAGER – SUBIACO & ADELAIDE OVALS – RUGBY WORLD CUP 2003
• APR 2002 TO SEP 2002
VENUE GENERAL MANAGER – TABLE TENNIS & VENUE COMMUNICATIONS PROGRAM MANAGER – MANCHESTER 2002 COMMONWEALTH GAMES
• DEC 2001 TO MAR 2002
VENUE COMMUNICATIONS CENTRE MANAGER – PARK CITY MOUNTAIN RESORT – SALT LAKE 2002 WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES
• JAN 2001 TO NOV 2001
VENUE MANAGER – AQUATIC CENTRE & VELODROME – BRISBANE GOODWILL GAMES 2001
• JUL 1998 TO NOV 2000
OPERATIONS MANAGER – AQUATIC CENTRE – SYDNEY 2000 OLYMPIC & PARALYMPIC GAMES
• MAY 1997 TO JUN 1998
STATE DEVELOPMENT OFFICER – SWIMMING VICTORIA