Scottish Rugby elects new Chairman for 2017

The Scottish Rugby Board today unanimously voted Colin Grassie as its new Chairman, to take over from Sir Moir Lockhead OBE with effect from 1 January 2017.

Sir Moir Lockhead & Colin Grassie

Sir Moir, who was elected Chairman, and been a Board member since 2011, was due to retire in June 2017 but has decided to step down earlier to enable a new Chairman to help drive forward Scottish Rugby’s modernisation and commercial strategies. He will continue to Chair the Board and act as an independent non-executive director until the end of this year.

A new independent non-executive director will now be sought, with a view to that person taking up office early in 2017.

At the recent Scottish Rugby Union AGM Chief Executive Mark Dodson spoke of the financial challenges the sport faced at domestic and professional level and outlined there would need to be a move towards a new business structure to secure inward investment.

This process will be overseen from its early stages by the new Chairman and will ensure an orderly transition and handover as the organisations adapts to a different structure over the coming months. 

Colin Grassie joined the Scottish Rugby Board as an Independent Non-Executive Director in July 2012 having been UK CEO and a member of the Group Executive Committee at Deutsche Bank. He was re-appointed to the Scottish Rugby Board in July 2015 and will take on the role of Chairman for a 3-year period commencing in January 2017.

Sir Moir’s tenure has seen the financial stability of Scottish Rugby improve significantly and the delivery of the BT sponsorship deal which has enabled investment in the domestic game and creation of the regional Academies.

His ambition on appointment to bring more supporters to the game has manifested itself in regular sell-out matches at BT Murrayfield, and a desire to give Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors more autonomy has seen the capital side reach the Challenge Cup Final in 2015 and Glasgow win the Guinness PRO12 the same year.

Speaking on his decision Sir Moir said:

It has been a real honour to chair the Scottish Rugby Board for the past five years.  I believe we have achieved a great deal both on and off the pitch and put the organisation into a stronger financial position to enable a more proactive approach to investment to be taken.

“I am very optimistic about the future of rugby in Scotland. The on-going work being undertaken will create exciting opportunities for the sport to flourish in the years ahead. I have enjoyed contributing to this process, but decided it was the right time for me to step aside and enable my successor to begin this important new phase from the start of next year so there is stability and continuity going forward.

“During his tenure as an independent non-executive director Colin has gained a detailed understanding of our business and, together with my other Board and Council colleagues, has already played an important part in our progress.  I believe Colin will do an excellent job as Chairman and wish him, and the whole of Scottish Rugby, the very best for the future.”

Colin Grassie said: “I would like to thank Sir Moir for his hugely significant contribution to Scottish Rugby. He has helped put Scottish Rugby on the right course for the future and I feel very privileged to be elected as Chairman to build on the firm foundations he has put down. Scottish Rugby is at a pivotal moment and we need to be creative and ambitious about how we proceed to tackle the challenges ahead.”

Scottish Rugby CEO Mark Dodson said: “It is no coincidence that the upturn in Scottish Rugby’s fortunes has coincided with Sir Moir chairing the Board. He has been generous with his time and knowledge and we have all benefitted from his extensive business experience. On a personal level he has been a great reference point for me to draw upon for advice and guidance.

"It is a measure of the man that he has decided to retire a few months earlier than originally intended so as to enable the business to move forward smoothly into its next phase of development under Colin Grassie’s chairmanship. 

“In Colin we are fortunate to have another highly experienced business leader to help us deliver on our strategic plans to secure the game for the future and I am looking forward to working closely with him in the coming years.”

Scottish Rugby President Rob Flockhart said: “On behalf of the Scottish Rugby Council I would like to thank Sir Moir for helping Scottish Rugby to navigate the last six years so successfully and for the progress the sport and organisation have achieved in that time.

“Colin will bring a new approach and different business experiences to the Chairman’s role and I am confident we will work well together on the many exciting projects ahead.”