TAVISH SCOTT, the former leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, has been appointed to a newly created role of Head of External Affairs for the Scottish Rugby Union.
The position was initially advertised back in March, however the timing of the appointment is curious, coming just two days after the SRU issued an update on the governance review currently being conducted by Sir Bill Gammell, in which it stated that it would look into “all of Scottish Rugby’s corporate governance and business structures to ensure that they are fit for purpose to take account of the interests of all existing and future stakeholders in a modern rugby environment”. The creation of a new senior management post at this time presumably precedes the findings of that review.
Scott will stand down from his current role as a Member of the Scottish Parliament in July, triggering a by-election in his Shetland constituency.
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The 53-year-old will “oversee Scottish Rugby’s corporate affairs and media operations alongside proactively developing the organisation’s relationships with government, national stakeholders and the member clubs of the Union”.
During his 20-year Parliamentary career, Scott held a number of senior positions including Deputy Minister for Scottish Parliament, Deputy Minister for Finance, Public Services and Parliamentary Business and Minister for Transport. Most recently he has been the Scottish Liberal Democrat spokesman for education and sport.
“I am absolutely delighted to be joining Scottish Rugby at this incredibly exciting time for the sport in Scotland and across the world,” said Scott.
“To have the opportunity to work for Scottish Rugby is a huge challenge and one that I cannot wait to begin. I will miss the hurley burley of politics and the people I have met and represented for 20 years, but there can be no better new beginning than working for Scottish Rugby.
“Representing the people of Shetland has been my life for 20 years. It has been an enormous privilege and honour to have been Shetland’s MSP since the Scottish Parliament opened in 1999. There have been many highlights, wonderful moments and intense political drama that I would not have missed for anything. So on this, the 20th anniversary week of those momentous events, it is the right time for me to change direction.”
The Head of External Affairs position will be part of Chief Operating Officer Dominic McKay’s management team.
“I am delighted to have secured someone of Tavish’s experience to join Scottish Rugby at this exciting time in our development,” said McKay.
“As we continue to further grow our activities across Scotland and internationally it is key, we work hard to maintain the excellent relationships we enjoy with our Government and Local authority partners at all levels whilst enhancing our communications with our member clubs the length and breadth of the country.
“I believe Tavish brings a unique set of skills to this new role which will help us to continue to develop important dialogue and promote the work we are doing to the widest possible audience at home and abroad.”
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It feels like Dominic Mackay is playing ‘job title bingo’: how many jobs can be created in the SRU. This job isn’t needed. The SRU is a £70m, 370 person organisation. It is smaller than many Scottish SMEs or charities and yet has overheads that don’t benchmark well against similar organisations. Where is Colin ‘Shergar’ Grassie? Is he trying to replicate the corporate structure he enjoyed in corporate banking? Corporate structure and jobs are excluded from the Gammell review- why? Clubs are the main stakeholders and shareholders- that should be Tavish Scott’s first meetings. I suspect he’ll spend his days talking to his current colleagues and making sure the SRU photo library is up to date. He could also make sure that the website is kept up to date- it appears that the Under 20 debacle didn’t happen. Chime, North Korea, EH12……
So, the SRU continue their policy of not wanting to employ anyone with obvious connections to the game. Why do we need this role and surely there are folk out there who can talk about the actual game rather than deliver the political bluster that seems to be the order of the day at present. Must have been the same interview panel as picked the Under 20s coaching team….