Alumnus Brett Gosper (BEc 1981) is the Chief Executive Officer of the International Rugby Board (IRB), the Managing Director of Rugby World Cup Limited and a former advertising executive and rugby player.
Prior to his appointment to the IRB in July 2012, Mr Gosper had a successful international career in advertising, most recently as the president and CEO of Europe, Middle East, Africa for McCann Worldgroup, the world’s largest advertising network. During this time he was also a member of the McCann Worldgroup Executive Committee and Board Executive responsible for global accounts including L’Oreal, Nestle, Unilever, Sony Ericsson and InterContinental Hotels Group.
Mr Gosper had designs on a career in advertising from an early age. He began as a graduate trainee with Ogilvy Mather in Melbourne in 1981. Across his extensive career he has worked for Ogilvy Paris, BDDP/TBWA Paris and led Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper in London, McCann Erickson New York, TBWA/Chiat Day New York, McCann Erickson USA and McCann Erickson EMEA. He counts being President of McCann Erickson USA among his career highlights.
Sport is his other enduring passion. His professional rugby career began in 1978 when, at the age of 20, he joined the Melbourne Rugby Club. He captained the club before moving to Brisbane in 1981 to play for Queensland. He was recruited by French club Racing Metro in 1981 where he played until his retirement in 1990.
During his rugby career he received many accolades including Melbourne Rugby Club’s Best Club Player in 1978, 1979 and 1980, and Racing Club de France’s Best Club Player in 1987. He also represented Australia's Under 21s against New Zealand in 1980 as well as the French Barbarians against the All Blacks in 1986.
Mr Gosper believes the skills and experience he acquired across his advertising career, coupled with his passion for rugby, were key to him being chosen for his latest role. And he comes in to the IRB at an exciting time; he will oversee the return of rugby to the Olympic Games in 2016.
“The sport of rugby already has huge momentum around the world,” Mr Gosper said.
“The challenge is to grow the sport commercially while preserving rugby's unique values. I’m looking forward to helping shape its future as it grows.”
Mr Gosper is son of Kevan Gosper, former Olympic athlete and vice-president (now committee member) of the International Olympic Committee. His older brother Dean (BEc 1980, LLB 1982) is the President of Ski and Snowboard Australia and a council member of the International Ski Federation. He counts both as key influences on his life and career.
“My family encouraged me from an early age to follow my passions,” he said.
“It’s advice I now try to instil in my own children and share with others: if you find a role in an area that you have a passion for, work will not feel like work.”