Lions make double raid on Six Nations for O'Driscoll and Whelan
The British and Irish Lions, the touring international rugby union side made up of the best players from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, has strengthened its ranks with the appointments of Thelma O'Driscoll as chief financial officer and Shane Whelan as director of digital, marketing and communications.
Both O'Driscoll and Whelan (pictured together) join from the organisers of the annual Six Nations Championship, which today named Ed Hepworth as its new chief financial officer.
The two new recruits will report directly to Ben Calveley, managing director of the Lions, which is stepping up its preparations for the 2021 tour to world champions South Africa.
O'Driscoll spent the last four years as CFO of Six Nations Ltd, prior to which she held senior finance positions at Outsource and Dell. At the Lions she will be responsible for financial planning and strategy, together with managing all aspects of the finance and accounting functions.
Whelan, who has worked in a digital capacity on the last two Lions tours to New Zealand and Australia, moves from the Six Nations where he was director of digital communications and marketing. He will oversee the Lions’ marketing communications and brand strategy, as well as being responsible for all digital output including platform development, social media and content.
Calveley said: “Both are outstanding talents with proven track records and their broad experience and knowledge within the digital and financial sectors will be invaluable to the Lions.”
Whelan and O’Driscoll join Tom Halsey, commercial director, and Alan Phillips, operations director, who both joined the Lions executive team in December.
Halsey is the former head of business development at England's Rugby Football Union.Six Nations Ltd has hired Hepworth as CFO from Engage Digital Partners, the digital agency in sport, where he was finance and operations director.
Hepworth previously spent eight years at North American basketball's NBA, in both New York and London, in various senior finance, strategy and operational roles.
Ben Morel, chief executive of Six Nations, said: “I am delighted to welcome someone of Ed’s calibre to the Six Nations team and am looking forward to working with him again. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Thelma for her outstanding contribution over the last number of years at the Six Nations. We wish her every success with the British & Irish Lions.”