robdylan

Sharks to appoint Smit as CEO


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :In the news, Original Content, Sharks on 10 Apr 2013 at 07:19
Tagged with : , ,

Confirmation of a rumour that’s been doing the rounds for some weeks now appears to finally have come, with The Mercury reporting this morning that former Bok skipper John Smit is set to replace Brian van Zyl as CEO of the Sharks.

According to the paper, van Zyl is due to retire in February, but Smit could take over as soon as July, with the Sharks having secured a release from his playing commitments at Toulon next season.

Van Zyl has served the Sharks with distinction over a 20-year career but it has been felt, in recent times, that his authoritarian style may be holding the union back, with many beneath him feeling a little dis-empowered and alienated at times; furthermore, the battle scars of several long-running and occasionally acrimonious disputes with SA rugby’s various ruling bodies over the years have left the Sharks perhaps a little isolated from the mainstream of the game in this country.

Smit, if anything, is a healer and a reconciler and is probably just the man needed to heal any lingering wounds. How, exactly, he aims to replace the business acumen that van Zyl has brought to the post remains to be seen, however.

In a bizarre twist, van Zyl and Smit are both old boys of Pretoria Boys High School.

The Sharks are expected to announce the move today.



67 Comments

  • Holy hell this is awesome news!

  • Comment 1, posted at 10.04.13 07:21:47 by PTAShark Reply
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  • Wonder what made the committee choose him. But congrats to barney,I think its time that the union is run by someone who has been in the structures since grassroots level.. A springbok and sharks captain too.

  • Comment 2, posted at 10.04.13 07:24:16 by shaniboi Reply

    shaniboiVodacom Cup player
     
  • awesome news :)

  • Comment 3, posted at 10.04.13 07:31:30 by Poisy Reply
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  • great stuff we arent losing him, and to boot he can help the players for sure.

  • Comment 4, posted at 10.04.13 07:35:26 by Dunx Reply

    DunxSuper Rugby player
     
  • Guys if you were put in that position what would you change at the sharks?

  • Comment 5, posted at 10.04.13 07:46:32 by shaniboi Reply

    shaniboiVodacom Cup player
     
  • @shaniboi (Comment 5) : Coaching structures for a start.

  • Comment 6, posted at 10.04.13 07:57:38 by KingRiaan Reply

    KingRiaanTeam captain
     
  • Interesting? Welcome back John Smit!

  • Comment 7, posted at 10.04.13 07:59:55 by Pokkel Reply
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  • I like.

  • Comment 8, posted at 10.04.13 08:01:13 by GreatSharksays Reply

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  • @shaniboi (Comment 5) : coaching structure at senior level thejunior level seems good esp the sharks academy also look at how we recruite players

  • Comment 9, posted at 10.04.13 08:02:53 by Poisy Reply
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  • Welcome back Barney!! One of the best leaders the sport has seen, great to have him back!

  • Comment 10, posted at 10.04.13 08:04:20 by Die Kriek Reply

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  • We need a dedicated skills coach and a full time ‘kop dokter’.

  • Comment 11, posted at 10.04.13 08:04:57 by KingRiaan Reply

    KingRiaanTeam captain
     
  • yay – I’m on first-name terms with the new Sharks boss :)

  • Comment 12, posted at 10.04.13 08:06:39 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 12) :

    That’s great. Let’s hope he remains open and willing to talk to the media.

    Interesting choice but I wonder about how good he will be in a business environment?

  • Comment 13, posted at 10.04.13 08:11:32 by Pokkel Reply
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  • Is this a belated April fools joke? But I think this may just work wonders :D

  • Comment 14, posted at 10.04.13 08:12:53 by Uli Reply
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  • I was hoping that Smitty took up some sort of a coaching role but he is a great leader and will serve the Sharks Franchise well. Congrats Sir!

  • Comment 15, posted at 10.04.13 08:18:04 by Viking Reply
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    VikingCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Pokkel (Comment 13) : He’ll have the correct people around him to help with the business side. CFO and advisors etc. I’m just glad they appointed him, now we have someone steering the ship who’ll make decisions that’s good for the team and union, not purely based on profit.

    Pretty funny that he’s going to be Strauli’s boss now. Wonder if they’ll get along?

  • Comment 16, posted at 10.04.13 08:21:32 by PTAShark Reply
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  • This is excellent news. Means that Plum will probably stay until forever though – but at least we stand a chance of getting some specialist coaching in.

  • Comment 17, posted at 10.04.13 08:23:50 by Just a Fan Reply

    Just a FanCurrie Cup player
     
  • @PTAShark (Comment 16) : True, he is the tipe to surround himself with the right skills. And yes, Strauli must be fuming right now. Probably time for him to move on as well.

  • Comment 18, posted at 10.04.13 08:23:52 by Viking Reply
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  • @shaniboi (Comment 2) : good point. Hes been through the ENTIRE mill. A very young ceo, but probably just what we need

  • Comment 19, posted at 10.04.13 08:25:47 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 12) : Nobody like a braggart! :smile:

  • Comment 20, posted at 10.04.13 08:28:38 by Bump Reply

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  • Cool, our CEO could be on the bench this time next year.

  • Comment 21, posted at 10.04.13 08:29:42 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 12) : Think of the players, half of them would have played in the same Sharks/Bok team as the new CEO lol.

  • Comment 22, posted at 10.04.13 08:31:09 by Seth101 Reply
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  • @Seth101 (Comment 22) : And our new CEO has a twitter account hahahaha.

  • Comment 23, posted at 10.04.13 08:32:43 by Seth101 Reply
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  • “Smit, if anything, is a healer and a reconciler ”

    lets put him to to the acid test and see if he can make Grant10 change his mind about him.

  • Comment 24, posted at 10.04.13 08:34:10 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 21) : haha what I thought :D

  • Comment 25, posted at 10.04.13 08:34:19 by Uli Reply
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  • @Viking (Comment 18) : Why do you suspect that Straeuli will be fuming.?

  • Comment 26, posted at 10.04.13 08:35:42 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 13) : he runs manu businesses so in terms of business we don’t need to worry about that. The oke is well connected and his wife is a CA

  • Comment 27, posted at 10.04.13 08:38:04 by shaniboi Reply

    shaniboiVodacom Cup player
     
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 26) : If I remember correctly from Smit’s book, Smit and Strauli aren’t the best of friends. Staaldraad and all that jazz.

  • Comment 28, posted at 10.04.13 08:38:32 by PTAShark Reply
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  • Another question, does this mean Bismark will also receive a slightly lower position seeing as though he is always stuck behind Smitty?

  • Comment 29, posted at 10.04.13 08:40:10 by Seth101 Reply
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  • @Seth101 (Comment 29) : :grin:

  • Comment 30, posted at 10.04.13 08:43:45 by Pokkel Reply
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  • Now all i need is to find out Beyonce has taken a vow of silence, and this day will be perfect!

  • Comment 31, posted at 10.04.13 08:46:50 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @PTAShark (Comment 28) : Nope thats not the way I remember it. Joost and Smit had no problem with Staaldraad, Corne Krige did though. I may be wrong though.

    I just presume that Smit and Strools would have a good working relation considering that Rudi would have been the one negotiating with Smitty for his return and maybe other PR related events concerning the Sharks.

  • Comment 32, posted at 10.04.13 08:50:15 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • Errol Stewart also jumping on board according to this.

    http://www.supersport.com/rugby/sa-rugby/news/130410/Smit_to_return_to_Shark_Tank

  • Comment 33, posted at 10.04.13 08:55:02 by Uli Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 31) : Now that really would make the day perfect :smile:

  • Comment 34, posted at 10.04.13 09:26:57 by KingRiaan Reply

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  • Praise Jesus! My wildest dreams have come true!

  • Comment 35, posted at 10.04.13 09:31:23 by vanmartin Reply
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  • I find this slightly odd.

  • Comment 36, posted at 10.04.13 09:44:35 by Morné Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 36) : What’s on your mind Morne?

  • Comment 37, posted at 10.04.13 09:54:54 by vanmartin Reply
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  • I think its a very brave move that could pay off big time.

    Barney is a smart guy with numerous business interests, and the CEO is never going to run a d make operational discussions, but this does seem a bit early. What with his still recent career, I would have thought they would bring him in at a mid-level management role first; both to mentor the players and build his business and managerial acumen and experience.

    However, this guy is special, and I am darn sure that there are extensive support structures in place for him. They could not afford to lose a leader of his standing to the Euro or elsewhere.

    So bravo Sharks! :lol:

  • Comment 38, posted at 10.04.13 09:59:02 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 36) : I find it very odd

  • Comment 39, posted at 10.04.13 09:59:18 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 39) : And yet not an altogether original idea for the Sharks union. From the SS article linked earlier: “If switching from player to administrator so quickly appears to be a massive gamble for Smit, who led the Boks to their second World Cup title in 2007, he can take confidence from the knowledge that he is not the first person to have done so.

    Jamieson was only 31, and still leading Natal, when he was approached to take over from Roger Gardner in January of 1992. Jamieson parted ways with Natal in early 1994 when he was appointed to a management role at Rugby World Cup.”

  • Comment 40, posted at 10.04.13 10:03:44 by vanmartin Reply
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  • Allrighty then.

  • Comment 41, posted at 10.04.13 10:05:45 by SteelShark Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 37) :

    Well the first thing that concerns me is that Van Zyl was kept in the dark apparently, that for me is never a good way to go about things and can easily split a camp (talking administratively).

    As far as Smit is concerned, guy is obviously a natural leader – but there are countless examples in SA of unions being run by folks who are not businessmen. What is John’s background not only in administration which is a dog-show at the best of times, but also running a business (a multi-million Rand one at that)?

    I know he has the odd business ventures going on, but rugby administration and being in charge of arguably the most valuable commercial brand of any club or union in the world currently is no walk in the park.

    CEO’s need to make really tough decisions, emotional investment into those decisions can be very dangerous.

    I cannot help but be reminded that a complete wanker, but great businessman, Louis Luyt, built an empire at the Lions just over a decade ago – only for individuals not up to the task to destroy that in less than 10 years.

    There is no bigger fan of John Smit than me, and I think he could add massive value to rugby and Sharks rugby – I just don’t know if that should be in a role such as CEO…

  • Comment 42, posted at 10.04.13 10:06:08 by Morné Reply
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  • Have Smittie replace Dolfie – now there is a decision that make loads of sense! :twisted:

  • Comment 43, posted at 10.04.13 10:10:35 by Morné Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 42) : Leadership comes natuarally to John and is not something that can be taught but is something that is cultivated over a very long time. John has that. Running a business is sometihng that can be learned and be lernt quickly. If you surround yourselve as a CEO with the right competent people then the technical side is sorted and you just need someone to steer the ship strategically and make sound decisions that is not emotionally clouded. I believe that John will be able to take this union from strength to strength and a new era of leadership style is definetly needed.

  • Comment 44, posted at 10.04.13 10:11:05 by Viking Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 42) : This is on of those “only time will tell” moments in life.

  • Comment 45, posted at 10.04.13 10:15:13 by Just a Fan Reply

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  • @Viking (Comment 44) :

    I am a natural leader, and great motivator, it is part of what I do in my company – but I am in no way competent to run a business as a CEO.

    There is a reason some folks study long and hard to earn MBA’s in this world.

  • Comment 46, posted at 10.04.13 10:16:24 by Morné Reply
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  • @Just a Fan (Comment 45) : true…

  • Comment 47, posted at 10.04.13 10:16:33 by Uli Reply
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  • @Just a Fan (Comment 45) :

    That it is. Let’s wait for the official statement – some suggest it might not be in the role of a traditional CEO.

  • Comment 48, posted at 10.04.13 10:17:14 by Morné Reply
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  • Erroll Stewart’s name is an interesting one…. will he be the business brain to back Smit up?

  • Comment 49, posted at 10.04.13 10:22:10 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 48) : While I don’t disagree with the business side of your argument I can tell you this is no surprise to those in the know. Contrary to the SS article while it is true that Van Zyl wasn’t in the loop in terms of the John Smit approach, he is the one looking to retire, this is no stab in the back. Van Zyl was looking to retire at a normal retirement age and who knows maybe because of unknown circumstances the appointment of a new CEO had to be rushed I really don’t think it was in any way done maliciously towards Van Zyl. I think we all just need to wait on official statements as while this may seem a done deal it is not yet even confirmed.

  • Comment 50, posted at 10.04.13 10:29:39 by Seth101 Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 36) : @robdylan (Comment 39) : Agree, but it has a feel good something about it and it is not necessarily a bad type of odd. The almost unnoticed bit about a role for Errol Stewart excites me.

  • Comment 51, posted at 10.04.13 10:29:48 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • Leadership that is in touch with the needs of the team, stop being so negative and lets see how this pans out. I just hope he doesnt pander to Heyneke Meyers wants

  • Comment 52, posted at 10.04.13 10:31:34 by Talent Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 46) :
    Real leaders dont need MBAs.

  • Comment 53, posted at 10.04.13 10:31:48 by Big Fish Reply
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  • And to add to that John is neither the 1st captain to be appointed CEO nor the youngest. As the CEO track record goes this is more of a tradition then a shock.

  • Comment 54, posted at 10.04.13 10:32:54 by Seth101 Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 53) : Mmmm, I am with Morne here. I prefer people to always do the hard yards in any occupation.

    Could be a good move in the end, but could also bomb big time.

  • Comment 55, posted at 10.04.13 10:37:01 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 53) :

    You can only really lead in something you know a thing or two about. John is an exceptional leader of men on a rugby field, but then, he got every t-shirt imaginable in that occupation. My concern, and this is just a concern, is whether he has the acumen to lead folks in a boardroom where you earn respect through your decisions to run a multi-million rand business.

    Different ball game (so to speak).

  • Comment 56, posted at 10.04.13 10:45:17 by Morné Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 42) : Valid concerns Morne but as Just a Fan mentioned, time will ultimately tell if this was a good move.

    I still can’t help but be excited by the news. I’ve always wanted Smit back at the Sharks in a decision-making role. My hope is that the ability Smit gained to thrive under pressure in his role as captain at the highest levels of the game will translate well into this new position.

    He thrived in part because he was always willing to allow other senior team members to support him. Let’s hope it’s no different this time around.

  • Comment 57, posted at 10.04.13 11:10:51 by vanmartin Reply
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  • Please tell me that Smittie has encouraged his wife and kids to support the Sharks, SA and not some other team (particularly the Crusaders). I wouldn’t be able to handle that. :twisted:

  • Comment 58, posted at 10.04.13 11:21:16 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • Great move, Smit is an engaging well spoken rugby man who commands plenty of respect the world over.

    Great player and fantastic leader……..good to see him staying involved in rugby

  • Comment 59, posted at 10.04.13 11:52:23 by Saffex Reply

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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 58) : um what u on about?

  • Comment 60, posted at 10.04.13 11:55:00 by Uli Reply
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  • @Uli (Comment 60) : Having a dig at the Stormers / WPRU. Their president, Thelo Wakefield, has told the world that his wife and daughters support the All Blacks and the Crusaders. He didnt say where his allegiances lie but it makes sense that he does the same.

    Damn slap in the face to anyone with anything to do with the Stormers.

  • Comment 61, posted at 10.04.13 12:00:28 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 61) : mmm interesting… Yea that’s terrible…

  • Comment 62, posted at 10.04.13 12:08:59 by Uli Reply
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  • I am sure smit will excel , he is one of those people no matter what they do they do it good

  • Comment 63, posted at 10.04.13 12:16:12 by BR Reply
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  • I don’t doubt this guy for 1 second, for me this is a bold move, but I have a feeling it could be the start of a greater era for the union, then again it might just be the BIG Smit fan talking here, but I just have a good feeling

  • Comment 64, posted at 10.04.13 12:39:55 by Ludz Reply

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  • @Morné (Comment 46) : I Hear what you are saying but business acumen is easier learnt than leadership. MBA’s teach you a lot about managing a business and leadership but the quickest value is receuved on the business side. Leadership needs to be cultivated over time and not taught.

  • Comment 65, posted at 10.04.13 12:48:32 by Viking Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 56) : I am a big admirer of John Smit as a rugby player and captain but I share the concerns that you raise.

    None of that experience qualifies him to lead a business the size of the Sharks franchise. I am sure he has the potential but I would have preferred to see him gain a bit of experience in the organisation first.

    Remember that when Craig Jamieson was appointed the business, or Natal Rugby Union as it then was, was a very different organisation as we were still in the amateur era and Craig had effectively been a part time rugby player with a proper job – think he did law if memory serves.

  • Comment 66, posted at 10.04.13 15:17:58 by steve Reply

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  • Had to giggle a bit while I read the article… But soon turned serious as I read through the comments and realized, SH!T… this is serious :???:

  • Comment 67, posted at 11.04.13 07:48:26 by SharksRTB Reply

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