02nd Apr 2024

Hong Kong, 1 April 2024: Hong Kong China Rugby (HKCR) has appointed James Farndon as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Mr. Farndon, who is currently the Director of Sport Strategy and Performance at the Saudi Olympic Training Centre, will take over the reins from Robbie McRobbie, who has led HKCR as Chief Executive Officer since 2017.

Mr. Farndon brings a wide range of sports strategy, leadership, team development and organisational management experience to the position, including his current role under the Saudi Olympic Committee and Saudi Ministry of Sport, as well as senior roles with UK Sport (the UK government funding agency for elite sport), the English Institute for Sport, Loughborough University, the Rugby Football Union and HKCR, where he worked as General Manager, Performance. He has served as the head coach of the England and Great Britain student 15s and 7s teams.  Mr. Farndon has an MSc in Strategic Management (University of Bristol) and has extensive experience in change management, including the implementation of operational and budget plans to ensure that strategic goals are achieved.

Mr. Farndon will formally commence the role on June 10th 2024, and will work side-by-side with Robbie McRobbie during a leadership transition. Robbie will leave HKCR in early July 2024. HKCR Chairman Chris Brooke said that Mr. Farndon was chosen after a global search exercise that produced high-quality local and international candidates who were rigorously assessed by a Nominations Committee. The HKCR Board approved the appointment at a special meeting on March 27th. “James joins the HKCR at a time of significant change, and opportunity, both for our organisation and rugby in Hong Kong,” said Mr Brooke. “He has extensive experience in sports leadership, funding, budget planning, performance and operations which will enable him to work closely with the Board, the executive team, the rugby community, and a wide range of stakeholders to deliver the HKCR’s new strategic plan, which will be released soon.

“James will hit the ground running with a number of strategically important matters requiring close attention, including the move of the Cathay/HSBC Sevens to Kai Tak Sports Park, the evolution of the HK7s product, the nurturing of rugby at both community and performance levels, and ongoing efforts to increase access to the social value of “rugby for good” to as many people as possible in Hong Kong. “It is a challenging and also exciting time for HKCR, and we believe that James has the skills, experience, outlook and love of rugby to help us build a connected, sustainable ecosystem that optimises the positive social impact of rugby to the benefit of the Hong Kong community.” Mr Brooke said Robbie’s departure, after such an extended period of service to the HKCR and the Hong Kong community, would leave big shoes to fill. “Robbie’s name is synonymous with rugby in Hong Kong, and he has earned the trust and respect of so many people during his tenure as Chief Executive Officer, as well as during his different roles in the organisation over the past two decades. He is a great ambassador for the game and for Hong Kong,” said Mr Brooke. “We are of course sad to see Robbie leave the HKCR family after 20 years of dedicated service in the organisation.

“Robbie has a depth and breadth of knowledge about rugby in Hong Kong that is unmatched. Thankfully, Robbie will remain in Hong Kong to pursue new opportunities and, in keeping with his generous spirit and love of the game, he has assured us that he will always be available to share this knowledge and experience in the months and years ahead.

“We wish him all the very best for the future.” Speaking about his appointment, James Farndon said that he was looking forward to returning to Hong Kong after his role as General Manager of Performance at HKCR in 2021-22. “I love rugby, I love sport and I enjoy working in a team environment to deliver results,” he said. “I am excited to take over the reins from Robbie to lead an organisation that is so well regarded and has such a passionate commitment to including as many people as possible in the rugby community, to delivering social benefit and of course to staging the best Rugby 7s tournament in the world. “I am looking forward to working with the dedicated HKCR team, to meeting as many stakeholders as possible and to continuing Robbie’s excellent work across so many areas of the game. “I thank the Board for placing their trust in me and I will do all that I can to ensure that I live up to the high expectations that the Board and rugby community has in relation to the Chief Executive Officer of HKCR.”

Notes to editors

About Hong Kong China Rugby (HKCR)

Established in 1952, HKCR is the governing body for rugby in Hong Kong and a full member of World Rugby and the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China. Over the past 70 years HKCR has built a reputation in the international sports sector for innovation, excellence, community engagement and exemplary governance. HKCR has a history of delivering world class events, including two Bledisloe Cups, a British & Irish Lions match, and the iconic Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.

For further information please contact:

Hong Kong China Rugby Brett Free Mobile: +852 5595 2662 Email: [email protected]