John O’Neill has created success running three major organisations in banking and in international sports, where mass entertainment and broad community participation are essential features.
Between 1987 and 1995, he was the Managing Director of the State Bank of New South Wales.
Appointed CEO of Australian Rugby Union (ARU) in October 1995, over eight years John transformed the sport in Australia from one run by amateurs, to one with genuine professional management.
In March 2004, John joined Football Federation Australia (FFA). In the three years leading the FFA, John and the management team he created, established the very successful A-League, took the Socceroos to the 2006 FIFA World Cup for the first time in over 30 years and also drove the very successful strategic move of the FFA from Oceania into Asia which opened a myriad of opportunities for football in the region.
In June 2007, John was invited to return to the Australian Rugby Union as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. He was appointed as a Non-Executive Director of Rugby World Cup Limited in May 2012 and resigned this position in February 2014.
John was appointed to the position of inaugural Chairman of Events New South Wales in September 2007, a Company established by the New South Wales Government to attract and nurture events to Sydney and regional New South Wales, a key recommendation in his Events Report, until mid-February 2010.
John was appointed as Chairman of Star Entertainment Group (formerly Echo Entertainment) in June 2012.
John was a recipient of the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 for his ongoing contribution to the nation’s sporting success and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2004.
In August 2005, John was awarded the French decoration of Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur.
John was also inducted as a Member into Sport Australia Hall of Fame in October 2015 for outstanding achievement at the highest level in rugby union and football.
In November 2016 John received the Bird and Bell Award from the Worldwide Ireland Fund acknowledging his significant contribution.