5 minutes with Simon Porter


Meet our CEO, New Zealand 

Describe your career in 5 words 

Unique, entertaining, engaging, challenging and rewarding
What’s the most memorable moment in your career and why has it stood out? 

Working in the talent and player respresentaton sector, I've been fortunate enough to work on a number of deals for different players over the years. I am going to cop out here, and say that it really is too difficult to pick out one deal or contract that was more memorable than the others. In general though, whilst we have worked on the biggest deals in rugby, it is probably when you manage to secure a contract for someone who is struggling to find something that you get the most satisfaction.  You know them personally, often their family as well, and to top it off they trust you with their career and livelihood. When they are off contract or the contract is about to expire it can get quite stressful so when that contract lands on your desk it is very rewarding! Other than that, watching the 2015 Rugby World Cup final at Twickenham where an All Blacks team consisting of a number of our clients managed to beat Australia... well that was special as well. 

Having worked in the industry for over 10 years, in various capacities from marketing to management, what lessons have you learnt along the way and how has this helped you in your current role as CEO of CSM New Zealand? 

My background is the law and whilst it is very useful when it comes to the contract and negotiation, I think one of the biggest lessons I have learned is that no matter what, you are always selling something. In the agency game, that ultimately comes down to your reputation. You only have one and the rugby market is actually pretty small, so one misstep can have some long lasting consequences. In a lot of cases we are simply trying to convince families to trust us with their son’s (and increasingly daughter’s) futures. So I think you have to make sure that you are as honest as you can be, as you will only create a rod for your own back down the line. Rugby is also played by people from all walks of life so I have been very lucky to have been exposed to all sorts of different cultures around the world. I don’t think management is really too different. Try to be as honest and upfront as possible, be empathetic and supportive of your staff and their goals and things should normally work out ok.
Globally CSM represents some of the biggest names in rugby but what people may not know is that we have our own Player Development Programme. Can you tell us about the programme and how it works? 

I think that anyone who has seen a game of modern rugby will realise that the Pacific Islands contributes a great deal to the game. Having spent a little bit of time there you also come to sympathise with the fact that the kids there are simply not afforded the same opportunities as kids who were born in more developed countries. Our aim is to take this raw talent, nurture it and give young Pacific Islanders a better chance at using rugby to fuel their education and ultimately a professional career. Obviously not everyone can be a professional rugby player, so we also aim to give back to the community by running programmes where the kids learn about discipline, team work and hard work, hoping that it can also lead to better results for them within their own communities. 

When not at work, where might we find you? 

I’ve got two beautiful kids (Poppy, 7 and Toby, 5) who keep me busy, but when I can get some downtime you will find me in my garage Zwifting on my bike (fellow cycling nerds will understand - it's an online cycling training game), at the golf course or trying to cook up a storm in the kitchen.