In one of the strangest banking appointments in a long time, Goldman Sachs has added Eddie Jones, the man who just took over as head coach of the England rugby union team, to its board in Japan.
According to several sources, Jones — who was coach of the Japanese national team before taking the England job last week — will take on an advisory role at Goldman’s Japanese arm, although he said that any advice he gives will “definitely not be about banking.”
Instead Jones will advise Goldman on managing people from different cultures and integrating them into a strong team.
Many of Japan’s international rugby players are not originally from Japan, and Jones had to deal with a clash of cultures and numerous different languages when he first took the job.
“The question was how do you get everyone to work for the same thing,” Jones said at Goldman’s Tokyo office overnight. “You had to work out what was negotiable and what was not.”
Jones, who was originally a schoolteacher in his native Australia, is a bit of a hero in Japan after leading them on their most successful ever run at the Rugby World Cup in October. Japan won three games, including a famous victory over 2-time world champions South Africa.
Jones’ appointment to the advisory board is probably a lot to do with Goldman’s Japanese president Masanori Mochida being a huge rugby fan. According to Bloomberg, Masanori played while at university. After Jones’ appointment the president said that he had “achieved the impossible by bringing the Japanese team to a level on par with the best in world rugby.”
It’s not the first time that a major sporting figure has taken the leap into the world of business advice. In April last year former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, one of the most successful coaches in football history, started teaching a course at the Harvard Business School.
Jones is expected to travel to Japan at least twice a year to attend board meetings.
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