David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

League: Alex Hayton confirmed as new NZRL chief executive

The Kiwis form a huddle before kickoff in this year's Transtasman test against the Kangaroos at Hunter Stadium. Photo/Getty.
The Kiwis form a huddle before kickoff in this year's Transtasman test against the Kangaroos at Hunter Stadium. Photo/Getty.

New Zealand Rugby League has appointed Alex Hayton as its new chief executive.

Hayton has occupied the role on an interim basis since his predecessor Phil Holden departed in January, and has been awarded the job after beating out other candidates.

The former chief financial officer joined the NZRL in 2007, and will continue to manage the game's national and international interests ahead of next year's Rugby League World Cup.

Hayton's experience in the position was a major factor in him holding on to the role as the NZRL seeks consistency in leadership at the top level.

"One of the messages we received from all our stakeholders was their confidence in NZRL leadership," said board chair Garry Fissenden.

"Alex already commands the respect of NZRL staff and board, and keeping that continuity was important to us.

"During the past few months, we've had a chance to see how he handles the extra responsibility and we've seen him really grow into the role. He has guided us through some delicate conversations with stakeholders, both in New Zealand and Australia, and impressed everyone with his knowledge, his ability to communicate and his vision for the game's future."

Hayton's appointment follow's confirmation yesterday that the NZRL will report a 2015/16 surplus of $342,000 to next week's annual meeting in Auckland.

The positive result represents a significant turnaround from the $32,000 loss the previous year.

The former New Zealand Soccer operations manager expressed his delight at his appointment and is committed to seeing the game grow at all levels.

"I'm passionate about rugby league," Hayton said. "This was the first sport I ever played as a kid.

"I really believe in NZRL's 'more than just a game' approach. We're one of the few, if not the only sport in New Zealand that can have this kind of impact on society.

"This is definitely a role that I've aspired to and I'm grateful to now have that opportunity."

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