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The three candidates for USA Rugby’s open board seats surfaced over the weekend – Julie Lau, Jim Eats and Jim Brown. The process now moves to the current six board members, who will vote on their appointments. If approved by the board as expected, it’s up to Congress to vote on the candidates at this weekend’s Congress meeting in Denver.
Lau is one of four candidates put forward by the U.S. Women’s Rugby Foundation and Women’s Rugby Leadership Council. She picked up rugby at the University of Virginia and played with the D.C. Furies after college. She’s coached Navy, served as an administrator for the Furies and served as team manager for the U.S. Women’s 7s team at the 2013 World University Games.
Professionally, the Boston-based Lau is a managing director for KPMG LLP.
“In that role, she must manage risk, protect and grow KPMG's brand while also achieving its strategic goals,” reads Lau’s bio on the UWRF website.
“She's responsible for communicating complicated compliance analysis to internal stakeholders and external parties, like the SEC; leading large teams through complex financial statement audits; mentoring and counseling employees toward meeting professional and career goals; and many, many other top-level responsibilities.”
Jim Eats is a Southern California resident and long-time Belmont Shore player and member, who works professionally in renewable energy. He’s led several companies in the field, and he’s currently CEO of Brezza, a solutions company which serves the wind generation market.
Jim Brown is the CEO of JBC International and managing director for the united bid committee which landed the USA, Mexico and Canada the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Brown’s connection to rugby is unknown, but he did work with former Rugby International Marketing CEO David Sternberg and former USA Rugby CEO Doug Arnot at the 1994 FIFA World Cup, the first and only men’s World Cup held on American soil.
Sternberg served as the World Cup’s venue protocol manager in 1994, and Brown was the director of operations for the San Francisco venue. Arnot was an executive vice president of the event.
Sternberg served as the CEO for RIM, USA Rugby’s failed for-profit arm, through most of its existence before being run off in the spring after the scope of RIM’s collapse came into focus. RIM’s failures are the reason there are so many open board seats to begin with, as well as the reason one is filled by World Rugby vice chairman Gus Pichot.
Arnot served as USA Rugby’s CEO from 2002-2006, with the union’s assets dwindling during his tenure. He left to work on the 2012 Salt Lake City Games.
Brown worked for FIFA, soccer’s embattled international governing body, for 11 years. He was executive director of competitions from 2003-2010 and an advisor for the 2014 World Cup. Altogether, he’s worked on four men’s and women’s World Cups and six Olympics.