Scottish Rugby Board
The Scottish Rugby Board is responsible for the management of Scottish Rugby and also serves as the Board of Scottish Rugby Union Ltd. The Board comprises four non-executive directors, four Representatives of the Scottish Rugby Council and up to four Executive Directors.
Scottish Rugby Board, Season 2022/23 (Directors of Scottish Rugby Union Ltd)
Mark Dodson, Chief Executive
Appointed on 19 September 2011
Mark Dodson was appointed to the role of Chief Executive in September 2011.
Through his administration, Scottish Rugby has enjoyed record financial growth and secured major global sponsorship partnerships to help fund Scottish grassroots and professional rugby to unprecedented levels.
Mark has also overseen key coaching appointments at national and professional level and prioritised the pathway for young, aspiring Scottish coaches and players. He represents Scottish Rugby at World Rugby and sits on its Council, Audit and Risk Committee, Financial Committee and Professional Game Committee. Mark is also a member of the 6 Nations Council and serves on the European Professional Club Rugby Board. His role also sees him represent Scotland on the Board of the British & Irish Lions.
Mark played a crucial role in the strategy to bring private equity into URC and 6Nations. He is also heavily involved in negotiations to deliver a global calendar solution.
John Jeffrey, Chairman
John was appointed as Interim Chairman on 26 May 2020, and on 3 December 2020 was appointed as Chairman and Independent Non-Executive Director. A former British Lion, John continues to promote Scottish Rugby, representing them at World Rugby where he sits on the Executive Committee and chairs the Sevens Strategy as well as being the Six Nations Council President. John earned 40 caps for Scotland between 1984 and 1992. He is a farmer in Kelso and previously chaired the Moredun Research Institute. John is also a Deputy Lieutenant and Justice of the Peace for the Scottish Borders.
Colin Rigby, President
Colin was appointed to the Scottish Rugby Board on 22 November 2021 and joined the council following the 2017 AGM. Prior to this Colin served as National 1 Council Secretary and has been involved in various forum working parties over the preceding 8 years. Colin has served as Chairman of Stewart's Melville RFC since 2016 and is a Director of Stewart's Melville RFC Ltd, prior to this Colin was club President for 3 years and has held various other roles within the club. A former ERRS referee Colin has also been involved in the set up and creation of Stewart's Melville Rugby Academy and the junior section. In December 2017 Colin joined the Council Standing Committee on Governance.
Shona Bell, Chief People & Engagement Officer
Shona Bell joined Scottish Rugby as Director of Human Resources in June 2019 and was appointed to its Board as Director of People and Internal Communications in January 2021.
Shona, originally from the Highlands of Scotland, began her career with Marks and Spencer in 1997 on their graduate programme and proceeded to work in a range of Strategic HR and People Transformation roles in both stores and their London head office.
From 2007, Shona worked for a variety of businesses across multiple industry sectors including financial services, hospitality, manufacturing, food and drink and legal, providing interim HR Director and consultancy support for Organisational Development and Transformation Projects.
Since 2012, Shona worked in an HR Director role for the Crieff Hydro family of hotels for several years, alongside a Non- Executive Director position in a wholesale drinks business, Inverarity Morton.
Immediately prior to taking up her appointment with Scottish Rugby, Shona completed an interim change role with Barrie, a Chanel company.
Although never having played rugby herself, Shona is passionate about all levels of the game in Scotland and beyond, and feels very privileged to have her role in Scottish Rugby. Shona is Scottish Rugby’s first female Executive Board Director.
Hilary Spence, Chief Financial Officer
Hilary Spence was appointed to the Board on 2 August 2021 and joins from global biotech firm Collagen Solutions where she was CFO and UK Managing Director. During her time there she helped drive the Group towards profitability and deliver the successful sale and delisting of the Group to a US private company investor in 2020. Prior to Collagen Solutions Hilary was interim CFO with sports provider Powerleague and before that spent several years in various transformational roles across a number of business sectors.
Lesley Thomson QC, Independent Non-Executive Director
Lesley was appointed to the Board on 1 October 2013, re-appointed from 1 October 2016, with a renewal for a further 3 years from 1 October 2019. Lesley is the former Solicitor General for Scotland and former General Committee member at Melrose RFC, Lesley was the first woman to sit on the Scottish Rugby Board.
David McMillan, Independent Non-Executive Director
David was appointed to the board on 1 March 2017. In March 2020 he was re-appointed as an Independent Non-Executive Director for a further three year period.
David McMillan joined esure Group Plc in July 2019 as Chief Executive Officer. David was formerly Group COO of QBE, the Australian listed global insurer. Prior to that David spent 15 years with insurance firm Aviva plc, laterally as Chairman, Global Healthcare and CEO, Europe and India. In his time at Aviva he held several senior roles including CEO for UK & Ireland and Chairman of the RAC. David, who is based in Edinburgh is a Chartered Management Accountant and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago. He started his career with Hewlett Packard before spending nine years in management consultancy at PwC.
Julia Bracewell, Independent Non-Executive Director
Julia was appointed to the Board on 2 April 2019. An English solicitor, Julia was formerly a partner in the US law firms of WilmerHale and Morrison & Foerster. Today she is a director of McCarthy Denning where she advises funds and New York Stock Exchange listed clients on English corporate and finance law. She started her career on the trading floor of British Petroleum before moving to BP Group legal where she advised on international legal matters. As a fencer, Julia won bronze medals for Scotland at the Commonwealth Fencing Championships in 1986 and 1990 and represented Great Britain at the 1992 Olympic Games. As well as her professional legal skills she brings a wealth of experience in grassroots, development and performance sport through her experience as a board member of the English Sports Council and UKSport and member of the Nation and Regions Group of the London 2012 Olympics. She was the first female chair of sportscotland and chaired the international drafting group of the Brighton Declaration on women’s rights in sport. In 1999 Julia was awarded an OBE for services to sport, in particular fencing.
Hazel Swankie, Council Nominated Non-Executive Director
Appointed to the Board on 14 August 2021. Hazel has been a member of Dunfermline RFC since the late 90's. She initially got involved in the fundraising and sponsoring of the club. She joined the Management Committee as secretary in 2008 and still holds this position. She has also been fixture and referee secretary, Vice President and the first female President of the club. During her time in these roles, Hazel has gained a good understanding of what challenges clubs face on a daily basis in trying to remain sustainable and financially viable.
Bob Richmond, Council Nominated Non-Executive Director
Bob was appointed to the Board on 15 August 2020. Bob joined Mackie FPs at its inception in 1976 and has been involved ever since. He has been on the committee for 42 years and served as Captain , Treasurer, Vice President , President three times and coach. Bob is currently Hon President and Chairman. He also worked with North East Hurricanes for 12 years and has a wealth of coaching experience. He spent 10 years on the old north district committee and more recently has been on the Caledonia Championship Committee for five years. Bob is a member of the Nomination Committee, Remuneration Committee and Audit & Risk Committee.
Robert Howat, General Counsel & Company Secretary
Gillian Treasurer, Head of Legal