Thomas to continue as acting chief executive
June 30, 2011
Thomas took on the role of chief executive in the wake of John Steele's high-profile departure © Getty Images
The Rugby Football Union have confirmed that Martyn Thomas will continue as acting chief executive until a new CEO is appointed - but he will step down as chairman during that time with Peter Baines filling the void.
Thomas and Baines begin their new duties immediately and will revert to their previous positions on the day the new CEO takes up office. The process is expected to take between six to nine months and a small panel has been formed to lead the search. The panel, whose chairman will be appointed in the next 48 hours, has been given the authority to select headhunters if required. The review group established to examine the vacant performance director role has yet to meet so no discussions on the position have taken place.
The RFU were heavily criticised for their role in the botched appointment of Woodward as performance director by John Steele, whose brief and ill-fated reign as CEO ended earlier this month. "The board felt it was important, at the current time, to maintain stability in the union in challenging times," said Baines.
"Martyn has done an excellent job in taking over the day-to-day running of the union since John Steele's departure. It was felt he was the best person to continue until a new CEO is chosen. In addition we have taken important decisions around other key issues of governance and around securing the futures of key staff. It was a positive and productive meeting."
Francis Baron, Steele's predecessor at Twickenham, recently claimed that the governing body is on the brink of "complete meltdown". Thomas, however, believes the union is in rude health.
"It's important to remember that the RFU itself is in a good position despite recent events," said Thomas. "We are set to end the year by beating our budget targets and performances on the field this season by our senior team, Saxons, U20s and Women's team have all been strong.
"Finally we have just announced our new Choose Rugby initiative to drive recruitment and retention in our clubs with the O2 Touch programme as the first element of that. So while we accept recent weeks have been challenging there are many good things happening and I am greatly excited by the privilege of leading the RFU as acting CEO."
The RFU Board also unanimously committed to accelerate the appointment of an Independent Non-Executive Director and will take proposals for doing so to the RFU Council meeting on July 10.
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