MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Rugby Australia have appointed an interim chairman to replace Cameron Clyne with immediate effect as the governing body looks to provide “added stability” while it works through media rights negotiations and a 2027 World Cup bid.
Clyne announced in November he intended to resign the chairmanship at RA’s annual general meeting at the end of March but has been replaced by board director Paul McLean.
“McLean will remain in the role on a short-term basis to enable the identified future Chair, who will be elected at the upcoming Rugby Australia AGM, to make a gradual transition into the role,” RA said in a statement on Monday.
“The Board has made the change to enable the incoming Director to gain an understanding of the people and key projects across the game before transitioning to Chair.”
McLean has served as an RA director for the past eight years after an almost five-year stint as RA president from 2005-2009.
Clyne, a former banker, had served as chairman since January 2016, during which time the Wallabies have been in a state of decline.
Their exit from the World Cup quarter-finals in Japan, their equal worst result in the quadrennial tournament, triggered widespread calls for change in the RA leadership from Australian media pundits and fans.
Clyne, who drew media criticism for seeking to retain the chairmanship until the AGM rather than step down immediately, stays on as a board director until the AGM.
McLean said RA had “major pieces of work”, including negotiations for the next term of media rights from 2021-25, working on the World Cup bid and a new collective bargaining agreement with players.
“We believe this change will provide added stability at a crucial time for the business,” he added.
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford