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Chairman Gareth Davies To Follow WRU Chief Martyn Phillips In Standing Down

By Tom Jenkins

Gareth Davies is set to stand down as Welsh Rugby Union chairman later this year – unless he can alter rules he helped introduce.

The WRU are already head hunting a new chief executive to replace Martyn Phillips this summer, but they will also be looking for a new chairman in the autumn.

Unless Davies can get special dispensation to extend his six-year tenure as chairman, the two top rugby jobs in Wales will change hands within the matter of four months.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that the Union are being forced to hold an extraordinary general meeting within the next few weeks, following a rebellion of some clubs over a new funding model.

Phillips announced last month he would be leaving his role this summer after five years while Davies is due to be ‘timed-out’ as chairman after this year’s annual general meeting in October.

Ironically, it is a change the 64-year-old championed which is set to force him to stand down.

Having urged the WRU’s 320 member clubs in 2018 to back his proposals to revolutionise the way in which the game is governed in Wales, he got his way last year when it was agreed to slash the number of directors on the main board from 20 to 12.

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A community board was also set-up to work just below the main board level and members were restricted to three terms in office, each of three years. As part of the package it was agreed the chairman could not serve for more than two terms or a total of six years.

Davies became one of the three national representatives on the old board in 2014 and was immediately installed as chairman.

He was successfully re-elected in 2017, but is soon set to move on from a role which earns him in the region of £50,000-a-year.

Davies can still put himself up for re-election as a national representative for a further and final three-year term.

That would at least allow him to retain his roles as an executive council member of World Rugby, a director of Rugby World Cup Limited, Six Nations Rugby Limited, the British & Irish Lions, and remain on the board of EPCR.

The prospect of the WRU losing both their CEO and chairman in such quick succession could cause a few problems. Any prospective replacement for Phillips is unlikely to take on the role without finding out who will be chairman in the long term.

One way out is for Davies to ask the board to break his own rules and give him a year-long extension as chairman, but that would be controversial and there is no guarantee he would be re-elected.

 

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