English Rugby
RFU acting CEO steps down
ESPNscrum Staff
November 29, 2011
RFU chairman Martyn Thomas talks to the media, RFU press conference, Twickenham, England, September 7, 2010
Former RFU chairman Thomas has avoided charges of misconduct © Getty Images

Former Rugby Football Union chairman and current acting chief executive Martyn Thomas has announced he will leave organisation with immediate effect.

Thomas, who was due to leave Twickenham on December 16, has been replaced in the role of acting chief executive by Stephen Brown, the RFU's chief financial officer. The news of Thomas' departure came less than an hour after Charles Flint QC had announced there was no evidence to bring disciplinary action against him.

Thomas was criticised in the Blackett Report for his role in the hiring and firing of John Steele as chief executive. Judge Jeff Blackett, the RFU's chief disciplinary officer, indicated on September 2, during the debate on a vote of no confidence in Thomas, that he had sufficient evidence on which to bring disciplinary charges.

RFU president Willie Wildash subsequently engaged Flint to determine whether any charges should be brought. Wildash announced on Tuesday: "I have now received Charles Flint's opinion. In it he states that there is no basis, on the evidence he has seen, for bringing disciplinary proceedings against any member of the Council."

On December 16 Thomas will relinquish the chairmanship of England Rugby 2015 , the directorship of European Rugby Cup Ltd and step down from the International Rugby Board Council and the Six Nations Committee. But Thomas decided to hand over the RFU reins to Brown immediately.

He said: "Stephen has increasingly taken over the day-to-day running of the RFU since I announced on November 2 that I would not be renewing my contract after December 16. He has demonstrated in the time that he has been at the RFU that he is immensely capable and this has been underlined once again in the last few weeks.

"It is therefore entirely logical that he takes on the role of acting CEO as soon as possible. He is highly respected by the staff and I have every confidence that he will provide the stability and leadership needed until a new permanent CEO takes office.

"It has been an honour to serve the union, most recently as acting CEO where I have been lucky enough to get to know the staff who continue to work so hard for the good of the game. They are led by a superb Executive. The RFU has much to look forward to, not least hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2015 and I wish them well."

Thomas played a central role in England's successful bid to host the 2015 World Cup, a contribution noted by his replacement as RFU chairman, Paul Murphy.

"Our thanks go to Martyn for all the time and effort he has invested on behalf of the RFU in England over the years. Much credit in particular must go to him for the decision to award England the hosting of the Rugby World Cup in 2015," Murphy said. "I have said before that Stephen Brown is a great asset to the union and we have every confidence that he will have a positive influence during this transitional period until the new CEO takes office."

The RFU anticipate naming the new chief executive on December 14.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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