New CEO, equity deal part of Province action plan

The Western Province Professional Rugby Board will be looking to appoint a new independent CEO as part of a resolution to make pivotal changes to the governance of the company.

In order to achieve the goals of fielding a world-class rugby team, player happiness and security, financial accountability and sustainability, transparent governance and engagement with all stakeholders and inclusive transformation, the board has put together a practical action plan.

This comes following a full-day board meeting on Saturday, where open discussions had been held to discuss the way forward and address the ‘issues and perceptions’ that have plagued WP Rugby of late.

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This commitment to rugby excellence is not based simply on guaranteeing player welfare and happiness and successfully negotiating new contracts, but also creating an enabling environment for them to keep performing with pride and determination.

In terms of governance stability and integrity, the board has undertaken to further separate the powers and functions of the union and the company. This will include a search and appointment of a new separate company CEO in January 2021, as well as the co-option to the board of Solly Moeng on to the management committee in order for independent board members to be predominant.

WP chairman Ebrahim Rasool said during an online media conference on Tuesday that the process to appoint a new CEO will begin in January.

‘There will not be a CEO in place in January,’ Rasool explained. ‘We obviously cannot start at this point. The search will start in January and we are hoping that by the end of quarter one we could have that CEO in place.

‘The kind of person we are looking for is going to take time. The board is keen on finding the kind of person who can be a leading force in positioning Western Province Rugby as a company and board for the kind of post-Covid excellence that we want. It is an opportunity to rethink who we are, what we do and how we do it.’

There will be an increased focus on sustained and meaningful engagement with players, staff, sponsors and the public. The board will endeavour to ensure financial viability into the future by engaging positively with all stakeholders, thereby ensuring confidence and a shared understanding of our common objectives.

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Rasool said that a new equity deal is going to be needed for the Western Province board to achieve its goals. This comes after a tumultuous end to last week when American consortium MVM Holdings pulled out of negotiations around a prospective investment.

‘Without transgressing my jurisdiction, I want to say that an equity deal is certainly required for us taking Western Province rugby into a post-Covid dispensation with its uncertainties and the changes that it drives,’ Rasool said. ‘I think that it must be an equity deal that is not only pumping in money, but adds value and doesn’t take away from Western Province and its huge legacy of intellectual property, which is really the property of the people of the Western Cape.

‘Certainly, I think it mustn’t be in a situation where we have to compromise on the value of the Western Province brand. So I think it’s needed, but the shareholder will be applying its mind to that to ensure a win-win situation as opposed to win-lose or any other formulation.’

Rasool added that these resolutions are intended to have all stakeholders on the same team, pulling in the same direction.

‘We have incredible potential as a company and we also have some valuable assets in the form of our world-class players, top sponsors and, of course, our passionate support base. With all of these groups working together in a carefully co-ordinated strategy we are confident that we can achieve great things going forward.’

Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images

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Dylan Jack