John Jeffrey appointed as Chairman of Scottish Rugby

John Jeffrey appointed as Chairman of Scottish Rugby

The Board of Scottish Rugby is pleased to announce today – 3 December 2020 - that former Scotland internationalist, John Jeffrey has been appointed as Chairman of the Scottish Rugby Board until July 2023, a total of 3 years from his initial appointment in May 2020.

The Board was unanimous in its support for Jeffrey to continue as Chairman, given his great wealth of experience and knowledge of the game in Scotland and internationally.

The appointment of Jeffrey will continue to provide vital experience, expertise and continuity to the leadership of the Board over the coming years.

His influence across the global game as an EXCO member of World Rugby and as Chairman of the Six Nations will help to inform and guide the decisions of Scottish Rugby.

As well as being a former international player and British Lion, JJ has a deep understanding of the amateur and the professional game and remains close to community rugby in Scotland, especially in the Borders.

Speaking on the appointment Scottish Rugby President and Board Director, Ian Barr, said: “I am delighted that JJ has been approved by the Board as Chairman. I could not think of a better person to chair Scottish Rugby at this important time.

"I very much look forward to working closely with him and together we plan to deepen our dialogue and engagement with our member clubs in the weeks and months ahead.

“JJ has been a real positive force since his appointment as Interim Chair back in May and we quickly realised we had an excellent, knowledgeable and highly respected rugby man who could take on the role permanently.”

Chairman of Scottish Rugby, John Jeffrey said: “It’s been a very busy six months since I took on the Interim Chair role and it gave me a real insight into both the work being done at all levels of the game in Scotland and especially by the Board to tackle the challenges presented by Covid-19, whilst evolving and moving the organisation forward.

“I am passionate about the game in Scotland and I am proud to be given the unanimous backing of the Board to extend my term as a non-executive director and Chairman. I am looking forward to working closely with President Ian, the Board and Council and all our stakeholders to drive the sport forward.”

In confirming the appointment of Jeffrey as Chairman, Scottish Rugby’s Nominations Committee and Board followed its established processes in the company’s Articles of Association, which are themselves based on recommendations from the Dunlop Report.

The appointment provides business certainty, leadership, stability and continuity for the organisation and outside stakeholders and took account of external advice which highlighted significant challenges in finding external candidates against a background of the pandemic’s impact on businesses and the on-going review into the governance and decision -making structures across Scottish Rugby.

Jeffrey’s appointment as Chairman also sees his underlying term as a non-executive director extended for an equivalent period.


Following the second part of the AGM held last week a detailed Financial Update was today signed off by the Board and is being distributed to member clubs now, in advance of the final AGM session planned for later this month. A full set of audited accounts will also be issued in advance of AGM3 for review.

The Board meeting held today also confirmed the appointment of Shona Bell in her new role as Director of People and Internal Communications (formerly Director of HR) to join the Board in January 2021.

As Scottish Rugby continues to evolve and grow its people are a fundamental part of its collective future success. Making sure it has the right leadership approach, people structures and capability will ensure that it both attracts, engages, develops and retains key talent within Scottish Rugby, providing the agility to respond to the ever changing rugby landscape in Scotland and globally. These will be key areas of focus for Shona Bell’s role.

Shona Bell’s appointment to the Board increases Scottish Rugby’s female Board Directors to three, the equivalent of 25% of the Board membership, reflecting the organisation’s commitment to enhancing inclusion and diversity at all levels.

General Counsel Robert Howat steps down from the Board with effect from 1 January 2021 to enable him to provide continuing support and expertise to the Board, Council and Executive through his role as Company Secretary.

Scottish Rugby’s Executive Leadership Team has also been expanded to include Director of Rugby Development, Sheila Begbie and Director of High-Performance Rugby, Jim Mallinder in a move which formalises the regular operational and strategic input they have been contributing already.

They join CEO Mark Dodson, Chief Operating Officer Dominic McKay, Finance Director Andrew Healy, Director of People & Internal Communications, Shona Bell to form the organisation’s Executive Leadership Team.

Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Mark Dodson said: “The last year has given us a chance to see our business differently, make improvements and take a clear view of where we want to be in the future.

“Sheila and Jim ensure we can strengthen our leadership group and that every level of rugby in Scotland continues to be fully represented.”

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