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REGIONAL RUGBY WALES ANNOUNCES NEW STRUCTURE AND FUTURE DIRECTION

Following the conclusion of the new Rugby Services Agreement with the WRU and the implementation of a new European tournament structure, Regional Rugby Wales has now moved to strengthen its corporate and governance structure in order to continue to work on behalf of the four Regions to deliver sustainable and competitive professional rugby in Wales.

Following an intense three-year term leading Welsh Regional Rugby as Chairman of Regional Rugby Wales, Nigel Short has stepped down from the role with immediate effect to concentrate on his original role of Chairman of Scarlets.

The position of RRW Chairman will now be taken up by Robin Cammish. Robin is currently a Director of Scarlets and will now step down as Vice Chair of the West Wales Region to concentrate on the new role with RRW. Robin’s vast experience of start-up operations is ideally suited to taking on the RRW Chairman’s role through an initial six-month period while the organisation, its governance and operational disciplines are established.

Originating from Scarborough, Robin has been based in Kidwelly for over 10 years following a successful career operating at Board level in multinational businesses across five continents. Robin’s significant commercial experience and remarkable level of business experience and success will be key in contributing to the next stage of the growth of Regional Rugby.

After a twelve-month period as Interim Chief Executive of Regional Rugby in addition to his role as Chief Executive of Scarlets, Mark Davies is now confirmed in the position of Chief Executive of Regional Rugby and will step down from his position at Scarlets at the end of this month.

Prior to his four years at Scarlets, Mark spent 20 years at Honda Motor Company, running both UK and European businesses, so brings a wealth of commercial experience to his new role. In addition to his tenure in the sporting environment at Scarlets, Mark’s experience in Motorsport management at national and international level is considerable.

To further strengthen the commercial focus of the new organisation and underline the importance of strong governance of the body on behalf of all four Regions, Alan Whiteley is appointed as a senior Independent Director. Following a significant career in international Commercial law, Alan’s addition to the Board of Regional Rugby also provides substantial sports management experience, including a period as Chief Executive of Cardiff City FC.

Supporting the three key appointments is the full board of RRW; a group that brings a balance of lifelong passion and commitment to rugby in Wales and a wealth of commercial experience:

  • Peter Thomas – Chairman, Cardiff Blues
  • Roger Blyth – Chairman, Ospreys Rugby
  • Martyn Hazell – Chairman, Newport Gwent Dragons
  • Nigel Short – Chairman, Scarlets
  • Richard Holland – Chief Executive Cardiff Blues
  • Andrew Hore – Chief Executive Ospreys Rugby
  • Gareth Davies – Chief Executive Newport Gwent Dragons
  • Jon Daniels – General Manager Scarlets

Outgoing RRW Chairman Nigel Short said: “Regional Rugby and its future role within the Welsh game needs strong leadership as well as robust and clear structures so it can act with purpose to support the Regions and lead the regional game forward commercially.

“The Regions have been united in their vision and purpose throughout the detailed and lengthy discussions to reach an agreement with the WRU that creates a fair, progressive and credible foundation to protect and support the best interests of Welsh Rugby into the future.

“It has been both a challenge and a privilege to have played my part and I am encouraged that we now have an agreement in place that can create a stronger and more productive environment and encourage a thriving domestic game that feeds into the success of the national side.

“It now time for the next stage in Regional Rugby’s progression to be taken forward by a new executive with a strong commercial focus and for me to return to my real passion which is Scarlets Rugby. I look forward to continuing my work on the Board of RRW with a group of respected colleagues in the Regions.”

New RRW Chairman Robin Cammish said: “During his time as Chairman Nigel has shown outstanding leadership and delivered a real breakthrough for the Regions. We have all seen the benefits of working together as one team and we have committed to work together in the future to grow professional rugby in Wales.

“I will put all my energy and experience into the next phase of building Regional Rugby as we grow and become a very structured, professional and relevant organisation that is in touch with all levels of the game in Wales with the goal to promote and advance our regional game and ensure it reaches its full potential.”

Chairman of the Cardiff Blues, and first Chairman of Regional Rugby, Peter Thomas, said he believed a stronger and united regional rugby set-up had been the key to its success in recent months.   He said: “Having been involved in the game for a considerable length of time, we now see the evolution of Regional Rugby into a strong, professional and united organisation with very capable, keen and dedicated businessmen and women who love rugby and will use their influence and experience to protect and celebrate our game.

“There is still plenty more hard work to be done – but also good reason for optimism as we bring greater structure and governance into Regional Rugby.

“On behalf of the Board of RRW, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Nigel Short for his strong leadership, clear vision and strategic guidance over a long and challenging period; to former RRW Chairman Huw Evans for his dedication, leadership and commitment to regional rugby over many years and to previous RRW Chief Executive Stuart Gallacher who has been a rock in Welsh Rugby and was a driving force for our interests on the international stage.”

“They are all great rugby men that have genuine passion, vision, knowledge and loyalty to our game in Wales with qualities that I wholeheartedly admire.

“We can now look forward to the next phase of Regional Rugby, led by committed people who understand the value and potential of regional rugby, coupled with tremendous business experience and the confidence and leadership to make a real difference.”

BIOGRAPHIES RRW EXECUTIVE

ROBIN CAMMISH

Robin is CEO of QP Group, a global change and supply chain founded in 1995 and enjoying a successful growth working with blue chip clients. A 25-year practice leader in organisational development and process improvement, Robin successfully led the global business improvement programme at SmithKline Beecham. Robin has also held senior line management positions in numerous other sectors including automotive, electronics and consumer goods. QP Group has been consistently been recognised as leading its field through global industry leading awards including 2002 UK FastTrack 100 fastest growing businesses. Robin is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing with a BSc in Geography and Zoology. He now lives and works from West Wales and is Chairman of Kidwelly Heritage Trust.

MARK DAVIES

Aberdare-born, Mark was previously with Honda UK for 20 years before joining the Scarlets. He headed up both of its UK car and motorbike businesses with his most recent role as Head of Honda Motorcycles in Europe. He set the 2020 vision for the European market motorcycle business and was also previously General Manager of the Honda UK car business with a turnover of £1.5billion.

ALAN WHITELEY

Alan graduated with a first from Cambridge University in Law and went on to take articles with Phillips and Buck which later became part of international law firm Eversheds. He became the youngest national partner of the corporate law group in 1989, heading up the corporate divisions for South Wales and the West. He left in 1998 to become a partner in a corporate finance boutique firm before also setting up a corporate law practice in 1999. Since then he has served as a non-executive director of a number of high profile businesses both in the UK and the US. He was Chief Executive of Cardiff City FC from 2011 to 2013. Currently, he provides corporate consultancy to a number of different organisations and is Managing Director of an Education and Sports Company.

ENDS


Notes to editors:

The Board of RRW consists of some of Wales’ most experienced business heads along with the directors of each of the Four Regions have hundreds of years of combined experience in running some of the country’s most successful businesses, from blue chip companies such as Tesco and Honda to iconic Welsh brands such as Penderyn and Peter’s Pies. The business acumen they collectively bring to the regions, and Welsh rugby, is unrivalled in Wales.

Nigel Short – Scarlets Chairman

Nigel is Executive chairman of Penderyn, Wales’ only single malt whisky and recognised as one of the finest whiskies in the world, where he has been involved since 2004. He led a £150m turnover worldwide steel industry business for 25 years that employed 1,500 people in six different countries as well as holding leading roles with a number of international businesses throughout his career. He is a qualified rugby referee and has coached junior rugby at Whitland RFC for the past five years. He also runs a 400-acre organic lamb and beef farm in Carmarthenshire. Nigel Short is Chairman of the Scarlets and formerly of Regional Rugby Wales (RRW) and led the Four Welsh Regions in their negotiations and position on the future of rugby in Wales working within UK and European Rugby structures.

Jon Daniels, General Manager, Scarlets

Jon Daniels has worked within the Scarlets for more than a decade and prior to his current role heading up the management team at Parc y Scarlets he was the region’s Head of Regional Operations. Welsh speaking, Jon lives in Llanarthne but grew up in Llangennech, Llanelli. Mr Daniels graduated from UWIC in Sport and Human Movement Studies and went on to lecture in Sport Development and Management at degree level at Coleg Sir Gar and the University of Glamorgan. He set up the first Academy in wales when appointed Director of the Llanelli Rugby Academy in 2000 which later became the
highly successful Scarlets Academy following Regionalisation in 2003. He also represented the four Welsh regions on the steering group of the £4m European funded Welsh regional academies programme that rolled out the successful Academy programme into the 4 regions. As Scarlets Regional Manager, Jon was also responsible for the development of the regional centre of excellence project in schools and colleges as well as the successful Regional Pyramid Structure. In 2004 Jon led the Scarlets U20 to victory in the first ever Inter Regional Championship beating the Ospreys in the final at the Millennium Stadium. In 2009 he joined the Commercial Business Team of the Scarlets and has played a key part in delivering the business improvements seen in that time. Jon is Vice Chair of the Board of Coleg Sir Gar.

Andrew Hore, Chief Executive, Ospreys

Andrew joined the Ospreys in 2008 after holding several key roles in both Welsh and New Zealand rugby. At Canterbury Rugby he was New Zealand’s first-ever elite development manager, creating a world leading player development programme, before becoming conditioning coach with leading Super14 team, Crusaders. He then took the role of director of physical conditioning with the WRU between 2002 and 2005, helping Wales to a first Grand Slam win for 27 years in 2005. Andrew returned to New Zealand where he took the post of High Performance Manager, overseeing the development of coaches, players and referees across the country, from schools rugby through to the All Blacks team. He joined the Ospreys as Elite Performance Director, then became CEO of the Ospreys in 2012 with overall responsibility for day-to-day operations of the business.

Roger Blyth, Chairman, Ospreys

Respected rugby ambassador, Roger is an ex-Wales International and Swansea RFC’s second highest all-time points scorer. He has been a director of the Ospreys for over a decade. After retiring from the game he was a director of industrial clothing company W A Blyth Ltd and was a director of Eurosafe is an alliance of the very best independent Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) distributors around the UK, with a group turnover of over £ 100m. He has been part of the Ospreys since their inception in 2003/4 when Neath and Swansea RFC merged as Roger became joint managing director with former Ospreys director Mike Cuddy.

Martyn Hazell, Chairman, Newport Gwent Dragons

Newport born Martyn Hazell, is one of the most successful businessmen in Wales. He is the founder and owner of Newport-based haulage company Hazell Haulage. He is Chairman of the Newport Gwent Dragons.

Gareth Davies, Chief Executive, Newport Gwent Dragons

Former Wales International and British Lions squad member, Gareth Davies, joined Newport Gwent Dragons in 2013. He has held a number of high profile positions within sports management including being Dean of the Carnegie Faculty at Leeds Metropolitan University, head of sport at BBC Wales and chairman of the Sports Council for Wales. He has recently been elected onto the Board of the WRU.

Peter Thomas, Chairman, Cardiff Blues

Peter Thomas established Peter’s Pies with his brother in 1971. The company went on to employ 900 people and was sold in 1988 to Grand Metropolitan for in excess of £96million. He then became a major shareholder in TBI which owned eight airports, including Cardiff, Belfast and Luton and was acquired in 2004 for £550million. In 1988 Peter Thomas formed the Atlantic Properties, on of Wales’ most successful entrepreneurs, the focus of the business has been to finance and develop property based projects, which can then be sold into the investment market. Peter has been a Director of Cardiff Rugby Football Club Limited since February 1997.

Richard Holland, Chief Executive, Cardiff Blues

Richard Holland has a wealth of experience in the sporting field. He was the executive director of Chepstow and Hereford Racecourses where he was responsible for delivering Welsh Nationals. During this time he also sat on the operational board of Northern Racing, now Arena Racing Company (ARC) which operates 15 race courses across the UK, including, Uttoxeter, Bath and Newcastle as well the management agreement for Ffos Las. Prior to that Richard was the vice-president of corporate relations and sales at Celtic Manor.