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    15 June 2023

    The Welsh Rugby Union Appoints Richard Collier-Keywood as Its First Independent Chair

    Welsh Rugby Union Appoints First Independent Chair

    The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has made history by appointing its first independent chair, Richard Collier-Keywood. He is a former senior advisor to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and a barrister.

    A New INED Joins the Board

    Joining Collier-Keywood on the board is Alison Thorne, who was appointed as an independent non-executive director (INED). She currently chairs several organizations including National Dance Company Wales and Barcud Housing Association. In addition to her roles at these organizations, she also serves as a board member at Sport Wales and governor of Cardiff Metropolitan University while being an independent panel member for Public Appointments for Welsh Government.

    A New Era Begins in WRU’s History

    This marks the start of a new era in WRU’s governance structure as it moves towards modernization proposals passed at their extraordinary general meeting held earlier this year. One such proposal states that there should be at least five women members out of twelve-person on the board.

    In July 2021, when Ieuan Evans resigns from his post as chairman of WRU after serving since 2018; Richard will take over his responsibilities officially. Under his leadership, he will oversee key appointments including hiring a permanent Chief Executive Officer to replace Steve Phillips who resigned following allegations last year about misogyny, sexism and racism within Welsh rugby governing body.

    New Hope For Women’s Game

    Alison Thorne speaking on her appointment said “Change has been necessary and perhaps overdue”. She believes that with both community game members’ commitment to new ways forward combined with the professional game members, they can make Welsh rugby truly inclusive and successful. She will work towards that aim by ensuring progress continues to be made under her watch.

    Seismic Change

    The appointments of Richard Collier-Keywood and Alison Thorne are part of seismic changes in WRU’s governance structure. The high caliber of candidates that showed interest in joining the board has humbled Ieuan Evans, who is staying on for a smooth transition period over the next few weeks before passing over his responsibilities completely to Richard.

    Final Thoughts

    Rugby is an emotional sport for millions worldwide, including many in Wales where it’s considered as their pride. With these new appointments by WRU, they have solidified a platform that will take this institution forward into a new era filled with inclusivity and diversity while continuing to grow an elite men’s and women’s game.

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