John is a sports administrator and was the Chief Executive of Rugby Australia from 1995-2003 and again from 2007-2013.
John is credited with the successful organisation of the 2003 Rugby Union World Cup which made the ARU a profit of over 30 million dollars
On 31 October 2012 John left his positions in Australian Rugby.ARU Chairman Michael Hawker (and fellow Australian Schools Life Member) said under O’Neill’s leadership: “Qantas Wallabies have improved from fifth in the world when John returned to the game in 2007 to now second behind the All Blacks, participation levels are at an all-time high, and the ARU has strengthened its financial position.”
He remained a board member (in personal capacity) of Rugby World Cup Ltd until 2016.
John was born in Sydney in 1951, and was educated at St Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill, and Sydney University. He is a qualified solicitor, as well as a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Bankers. John has held numerous directorships, in both sport and business, as well as being involved in a number of community organisations over the years. John was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to Rugby as an administrator, to the financial services sector, and to the community through educational and charitable organisations. John and his wife, Julie, live in Sydney and have three sons.
2002 & 2003 – Australian Sport Awards Sport Executive of the Year
2005 – Awarded the French decoration of the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honne. for “the important role he has played in the fostering of relations between France and Australia, particularly in the field of sport”.
2010 – Published “It’s Only a Game – A life in sport” a penguin book.