Sanzaar targeting change as Impey resigns

Brent Impey says Sanzaar’s ‘outdated’ model needs to change after announcing his resignation as chairman at the end of 2020.

Impey on Tuesday announced that he will be resigning from his current role as chairman of Sanzaar effective 31 December 2020.

He held the post since 2016 and was re-elected for a further one-year term in 2020 as Sanzaar established new governance protocols, but has decided the time is now right for a change.

Impey held the concurrent position as chair of New Zealand Rugby with chair of Sanzaar, but called for an independent candidate to be elected as his successor to prevent a conflict of interest.

‘In my view, it is time for Sanzaar to make some fundamental changes which are best placed to happen under an independent chair,’ Impey said. ‘While there was no imperative for change it was appropriate to rotate the role, however I now believe that the role of chair of a national union as well as chair of Sanzaar is a conflict for any country.’

Impey also called for a new membership model which would allow Sanzaar to extend its reach and include nations beyond New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and Argentina.

‘I also hold the view that Sanzaar should become membership-based,’ Impey said. ‘The four-country consensus model is outdated if we are looking to grow the game commercially and internationally.

‘A membership model would allow the group to act together on issues such as the global calendar, rules, regulations, governance, and mutual commercial interests. Currently, the odds are heavily stacked against Sanzaar in its present form being able to affect change.’

In accordance with the joint ventures’ restructuring and governance, Sanzaar will convene an appointment panel with the aim of appointing, for the first time, an independent appointment for the role as chair.

‘Sanzaar would like to sincerely thank Brent for the enthusiasm, energy and hard work he has contributed to the organisation over the last five years,’ CEO Andy Marinos said. ‘He has been dedicated to the improvement and growth of rugby in the southern hemisphere, but it is understandable that in these uncertain times he wishes to step down as Sanzaar chair in order to steer New Zealand Rugby forward.

‘Sanzaar has for some time recognised that the chair should move to an independent position to remove any conflict of interests and that best-practice governance is followed. Exco will now form a panel to find a suitably qualified independent chair to lead the organisation.’

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