MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The National Rugby League's (NRL) Andrew Abdo has been given the role of chief executive permanently after helping steer the competition through the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Africa-born accountant Abdo stepped in as acting CEO after Todd Greenberg stood down in April due to mounting pressure following the suspension of the season in March.
Australian Rugby League Commission boss Peter V'landys, who has been the public face of the NRL since its successful relaunch in May, praised Abdo for his leadership, saying he had passed the "longest job interview ever".
"Andrew will probably be the best CEO the NRL will ever have," V'landys told Australian media on Thursday.
"Andrew has led the ship through this emergency, he's been calm and his work ethic has been extraordinary.
"He's been thrown in the deep end and was either going to sink or drown. He's swum the English Channel 50 times and done it in one breath."
Abdo will look to cut A$40 million to A$50 million (21.76 million pounds to 27.76 million pounds) in costs to make the league more resilient after social distancing measures introduced to curb the COVID-19 outbreak hurt the game's finances.
The league has had a clean-out of senior executives in recent days and is widely expected to trim its 16 teams' playing rosters and salary caps.
Plans for a long-awaited second team in Brisbane to join the Broncos in the Queensland state capital may be shelved if the business case does not stack up, V'landys said.
"Even though I'm a very strong supporter of a second team in Brisbane, it's got to be a strong business," he said.
"There's no time set as to when we introduce a second Brisbane team. It might be a year away, two years away, three years away."
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Christopher Cushing)