Rugby Canada and BC Rugby today announced leadership changes that will see Jim Dixon join Rugby Canada as the new General Manager of Rugby Operations and Performance in place of Mike Chu, who will be returning to his native New Zealand.
Chu will be returning to the New Zealand Rugby Union as their National Coach Development Manager.
“It’s been a privilege to have worked for Rugby Canada and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here,” Chu said. “I feel Rugby Canada is on a great upward swing, with many exciting events to look forward to and with our teams and staff striving tirelessly to succeed on the international stage. I am grateful to the players, staff, board members, volunteers, and the many great rugby people across the country who have made my time in Canada so rewarding and I will continue to be a strong advocate and ambassador for Canadian Rugby.”
Chu joined Rugby Canada in late 2011 after spending the previous nine years with the NZRU as their Coach and Player Development Manager. During Chu’s time with Rugby Canada, he has built a culture of excellence at Rugby Canada’s COE.
“NZ Rugby is pleased to welcome Mike back,” said Brent Anderson, GM Community and Provincial Union Rugby at NZRU. “He is a quality person and the experiences he has gained from his time in Canada will only enhance his ability to continue to contribute to rugby.”
Over the course of Chu’s tenure with Rugby Canada, Canadian rugby has experienced some of its best results in its history, including a second place finish at the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup, back-to-back third place finishes in the Women’s Seven Series, a second place finish at the 2013 Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens and a sixth place finish in the 2014-15 HSBC Men’s Seven World Series season.
Recently, Canada hosted its first ever women’s sevens event in Langford and next year will host a stop of the men’s tour in Vancouver.
While Rugby Canada is saddened to lose Chu, the addition of Dixon is an exciting prospect.
Dixon will be joining Rugby Canada from BC Rugby, where he has acted as CEO since September 2013. Dixon is also a native Kiwi where he graduated from the University of Otago with a major in Coaching and Sport Psychology. Outside of Canada, Dixon has worked in Australia, Spain and England.
“It is an absolute honour to be joining Rugby Canada,” Dixon said. “I’ve worked closely with many of the Rugby Canada staff and athletes over the past three years. They are an outstanding group of people with ambition, drive and determination to succeed. I am relishing the opportunity to support and lead them in achieving their respective goals and objectives.
“I have enjoyed my time with BC Rugby immensely and there are so many highlights from my time here. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the board of directors, staff and all the volunteers I have had the pleasure of working with over the past two years.
“I can’t thank you enough for your support, dedication and passion for this great sport we all love. I am looking forward to working with BC Rugby in my new role. Finally I would like to say a huge thank you to Steve Cook for his support and encouragement. You couldn’t ask for a better leader.”
Both Rugby Canada and BC Rugby are committed to work together to ensure a smooth transition of their management personnel.
Dixon will remain at his post with BC Rugby until the end of May and thereafter will assist with the transition of his successor with BC Rugby.
Steve Cook, BC Rugby’s President, thanked Dixon for his efforts while wishing him the best of luck with Rugby Canada.
“Whilst we are very sad to see Jim leave we are very excited for him and the opportunity he has been offered,” Cook said. “We know he will be a success, and contribute immensely to Rugby Canada. Jim’s efforts with BC Rugby have provided a great platform for growth and achievement, and with the excellent staff we have in place, we are very confident BC Rugby will continue to develop and accomplish our strategic objectives. He leaves us in a strong position. We thank Jim for his leadership and energy, and look forward to working with him in his new role in the future.”
Rugby Canada’s CEO Graham Brown added, “Thank you to both Mike and his family for their incredible dedication to Canadian Rugby. Mike has provided world leading leadership and professionalism with which he has led our vision for rugby in Canada during his tenure with Rugby Canada. He has been an integral part of our recent success and we wish the entire Chu Family nothing but the best as he returns to New Zealand.
“We are excited to bring Jim in and we look forward to working with him. I also want to thank BC Rugby for their cooperation with us on this task. While it’s never easy to lose someone like Mike, he and Jim are working together closely to ensure there is a smooth transition.”
BC Rugby will be commencing a search for Dixon’s replacement immediately.