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Australia’s NRL Hires Banker Dave Smith as CEO to Replace Gallop

Dave Smith, who headed up Lloyds Banking Group Plc’s Australasian unit, was hired as chief executive officer of Australia’s National Rugby League.

Smith’s appointment ends a 5 1/2-month search to find a replacement for David Gallop, who left the role in June after 10 years in the job. Gallop has since taken a similar position with Australia’s soccer federation.

Smith, a Welshman who moved to Sydney nine years ago, will start with the NRL on Feb. 1, the Australian Rugby League Commission said today in a statement. Smith said at a televised news conference that his commitment with Lloyds International will run until the end of January.

“I decided 18 months ago to change direction and to look for opportunities in sports management and have been waiting for the right opportunity,” Smith told reporters. “I believe I have the set of skills that will make a difference.”

Shane Mattiske will continue to act as the NRL’s interim chief executive until Smith takes over, the commission said.

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