COLIN GRASSSIE is to stand down from his role as Chairman and Independent Non-Executive Director on the Scottish Rugby Board at August’s AGM.
The former Deutsche Bank executive joined the Scottish Rugby Board in June 2012 and was appointed Chairman in 2017. His tenure was up in December 2019, however it was announced in July of that year that he had agreed to stay on for a further 18 months, which would have taken him up to just before the 2021 AGM. It was revealed at the same time that fellow Non-Executive Director Lesley Thomson QC had also been handed a third term of three years by the Board’s Nominations Committee.
“With the rugby landscape going through a period of exceptional change and with external factors likely to create new opportunities the Board collectively wanted to maintain a level of operating consistency within the organisation,” said a statement issued by the SRU at that time.
“Both Grassie and Thomson bring a depth and relevance of experience to their respective roles, which the Board felt would be invaluable to Scottish Rugby at this time.”
Grassie’s tenure has been amongst the most tumultuous in Scottish Rugby’s history. He was in charge of the clean-up operation after the Union lost an unfair dismissal case brought by former Director of Domestic Rugby Keith Russell, and came in for some heavy criticism for the lack of detail published from the subsequent internal review on the matter conducted by Thomson.
More recently, the executive pay scandal, and his role in the management and governance review conducted by Sir Bill Gammell and Norman Murray, has caused significant unease amongst member clubs.
“I have been immensely proud to hold the position of Chairman over the past three years and I’d like to thank each and every Board member I have had the pleasure of working with for their support and guidance,” said Grassie, in a wide-ranging update issued on behalf of the Board at lunchtime today.
“I intend to give the essential work now underway during the Covid-19 crisis my complete focus and full attention until such time as we can bring our member clubs together for our next AGM.
“We are facing unprecedented challenges on a daily basis and I believe we have the right people in place to tackle this head-on.”
The update also explained that: “In line with normal procedures the Board, through its Nominations Committee, will be undertaking a search for his replacement.” Grassie is also stepping down as Chairman of the Nominations Committee and has recused himself from the selection process.
On the separate but related issue of President Dee Bradbury‘s governance Task Force, the Board clarified that it will not be seeking to engage with this group until after August’s AGM, by which time current Vice-President Ian Barr will have taken over the top job.
“This is important work and at a time of significant disruption in the sporting world there is a need to ensure that there is the opportunity for meaningful consultation with all our clubs and stakeholders,” said the update.
“There must and will be time, in due course, to look at how Scottish Rugby is structured and governed, but right now we must concentrate our collective energies on the pressing matters at hand.”
Which begs the question of why the Task Force has not been stood down altogether at this point?
The update also stated that Scottish Rugby is investigating ways to ensure that the AGM can go ahead as scheduled on 15th August should Covid-19 restrictions continue to be in force at that date, and will be writing to club secretaries shortly with further information and guidance in connection with AGM business and timescales.