Welsh Rugby Union: Chief executive Martyn Phillips to leave role

Wayne Pivac and Martyn Phillips
Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Martyn Phillips (right) appointed Wayne Pivac to replace Warren Gatland as the new Wales coach in 2019

Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Martyn Phillips is to leave his role.

WRU chairman Gareth Davies has already begun the process of recruiting a successor, with Phillips to stand down this summer after five years in charge.

Wales enjoyed on-field success during Phillips' tenure, winning a Grand Slam, going 14 matches unbeaten and reaching the 2019 World Cup semi-final.

"When I joined the WRU I committed that I would, as a minimum, stay until the Japan World Cup", said Phillips. ​

​​"As things turned out, there were priorities that needed to be addressed that have meant that I have extended my tenure, but I am now confident that the foundations are in place for Welsh rugby to thrive over the next few years as the global rugby landscape inevitably evolves.

​"This role requires 100% commitment which I knew when I joined - you are always on. I now feel that the time is right to transition to a new CEO and redress the balance to spend more time with my family."

Chairman Davies said: ​"Martyn has been an excellent chief executive.

"His energy and enthusiasm, coupled with his thoughtful leadership, have meant he has had a transformative impact on the business."

Success on the field, strife off it

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Martyn Phillips: Outgoing chief executive gave WRU better values - Gareth Davies

While Wales' senior men's team have flourished on the pitch in recent seasons, the Welsh domestic game has endured another period of turbulence.

Phillips oversaw last season's Project Reset, a WRU effort to restructure Welsh regional rugby.

It proved extremely divisive, with the most controversial measure the proposed merger between Scarlets and Ospreys.

Although the merger plans were ditched, they still left a trail of destruction.

Ospreys chairman Mike James resigned, blaming the WRU's "catastrophic mismanagement", while Wales hooker Ken Owens said players across the country were "deeply concerned" about the situation.

Once that controversy passed, Wales went on to win the 2019 Six Nations Grand Slam.

That was a highlight on the pitch during Phillips' tenure, while away from the field the former B&Q boss oversaw a record £97m turnover for the WRU in the 2017-18 financial year.

"Against a backdrop of a changing global landscape for rugby, the WRU is evolving as a business," said chairman Davies.

"With exciting capital projects aimed at providing sustainable income to support the game in Wales, such as the hotel project on Westgate Street, it is vital that we recruit someone who is as comfortable representing Welsh rugby internationally as they are working on sizeable commercial projects and directly with the clubs that make up our union."

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