FORMER Scottish Conservative Party leader Ruth Davidson is one of two Non-Executive Directors appointments to the Scottish Rugby Limited Board announced this [Thursday] afternoon.
The other new face is businessman Mike Soutar, who has had a 30-year career in publishing, initially with DC Thomson in his native Dundee, before moving to London where he held a variety of media and publishing roles in the UK and US. He was of co-founder of Shortlist Media in 2007 (which published magazines ShortList and Stylist, as well as digital brands Emerald Street and Mr. Hyde), before having a spell as CEO of the Evening Standard.
“His business experience and leadership style also saw him work with Comic Relief, as a Trustee, and the Independent Press Standards Organisation as a Non-Executive Director. Mike has also been a familiar candidate interviewer on BBC’s The Apprentice,” said the statement announcing the appointments.
Soutar said: “I am delighted to join the Board of Scottish Rugby Limited and look forward to working with Chair John McGuigan and my fellow Directors to build upon the remarkable legacy and progress achieved by the organisation in recent years.
“This is a transformative era for the sport, and there are substantial opportunities to expand the reach of Scottish Rugby for the benefits of all parts of the game. I am keen to support CEO Mark Dodson and his team in maximising the impact of the growing women’s game, and supporting the crucial work of grassroots community clubs. I am also very excited about the significant potential in our professional teams and the Scotland national sides to captivate a wider fan base.
“As a proud Scot and lifelong rugby enthusiast, having first played the sport as an 11-year-old schoolboy in Glenrothes, joining the Board is a genuine honour. I hope to make a meaningful contribution to the future success of Scottish Rugby.”
Davidson led the Scottish Conservatives for eight years between 2011 and 2019. In July 2021, she entered the House of Lords as Baroness Davidson of Lundin Links.
“As an experienced non-executive director across the manufacturing and financial services sectors, she has a particular interest in ensuring companies and organisations deliver their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) commitments,” said the Murrayfield statement.
Davidson said: “As a lifelong Scotland fan, I am delighted to be joining the board of Scottish Rugby Ltd. From our community clubs through to the international teams, we have so much to be proud of – and so much further potential to be fulfilled.
“We have to match that potential with ambition and that means working collectively to ensure we are getting things right – from talent spotting to training, infrastructure to finance, safeguarding to leadership, to name but a few.
“I want to help grow the game in Scotland in any way I can and ensure the hard work which underpins it is directed in the most effective way possible.”
Davidson and Soutar are the third and fourth new appointees to the Board in the last two months, following John McGuigan coming in as Chair in May and Alexandra Whelan as a Non-Executive Director in June.
“I am delighted Ruth and Mike have agreed to join the SRL Board,” said McGuigan. “They bring significant experience gained over many years in areas that will be critical as we continue to evolve the game in Scotland.
“Alongside their experience and absolute love for the game, Mike and Ruth share my commitment to deliver results through working in partnership with all parts of Scottish Rugby.”
Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Mark Dodson added: “It is a further demonstration of the power of sport and progress Scottish Rugby is committed to making that we can welcome appointments who will deliver the level of experience and credibility Ruth and Mike will bring to the Scottish Rugby Limited Board.
“As a sport we have significant opportunities, as well as challenges, ahead in the coming years and their respective experience will be invaluable as we navigate through the sporting, financial and societal changes we will be facing.”