Munster Rugby will shortly be on the hunt for a new Head of Commercial and Marketing following the news yesterday that Doug Howlett is to return to his native New Zealand in the autumn.
“The privilege of playing for Munster Rugby, completing my MBA in UCC, and having the opportunity to run the province’s Commercial and Marketing programmes under the guidance of Garrett Fitzgerald, and the Commercial Board’s Niall FitzGerald and Patrick Coveney, have all been incredible experiences,” said Howlett.
“It has been an extraordinary 11 years living in Ireland and I will always treasure my time in this special and unique club, and in Irish sport, academia and business.”
“With Doug excelling in a senior management role we were always informed of his future plans to return to New Zealand,” added Munster Rugby Acting CEO Philip Quinn.
“He has been a great colleague and addition to the organisation, overseeing our most successful commercial year of the past decade.”
“In pursuing our strategic objectives, the building blocks are very much in place for further progression and that’s down to the work the Commercial and Marketing department have carried out on the ticketing, sponsorship, patrons and global events front.”
“We retain a talented and committed Commercial and Marketing team focused on realising our clear vision and strategy built on the values of Munster Rugby.”
“I would like to thank Doug, and wish him and his family all the best as they return to New Zealand.”
His time at the helm, succeeding Enda Lynch who moved over to the Munster High-Performance Leadership programme, was marked by success off the field.
a 15 per cent increase in attendance last season was backed up by selling out Independent park in Cork for four games in the Guinness PRO14 and successfully hosting Ireland’s U20 Grand Slam wins over England and France.
Further positives saw an increase in sponsorship and hospitality income of 10% and 30% respectively. The inaugural New York Dinner and upcoming Dublin Dinner sold-out in addition to the annual London Dinner.
Most recently, Munster Rugby won the 2019 Video and Apps Marketing Award at the Marketing Institute of Ireland awards.
On the field, Howlett is the all-time leading try scorer for the All Blacks and was involved in professional rugby for 17 years, during which time he played for Super Rugby sides the Highlanders, the Hurricanes and the Blues before joining Munster Rugby in January 2008.
In making an immediate impact, the world-class player helped the province to Heineken Cup success that year and two Celtic League trophies in the following three years. He made 114 appearances in red over five-and-a-half seasons. A natural leader in the Munster environment he was appointed Munster captain for the 2012/13 season.
“Doug showed the same level of professionalism, dedication, commitment and drive in the Board room as he always did on the pitch,” said Chairman of the Munster Rugby Commercial Advisory Board, Patrick Coveney.
“We will miss him but are hugely appreciative for Doug’s contribution to the strategic development of Munster Rugby which will continue to benefit the organisation in the years ahead.”