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Thomas to stand down

The Rugby Football Union's acting chief executive Martyn Thomas is to leave his post on December 16, the governing body have confirmed following a board meeting at Twickenham.

The 67-year-old's position has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months in the wake of the firing of former chief executive John Steele in June following a botched attempt to recruit a performance director.

Stephen Brown, the union's chief financial officer, will take over from Thomas as acting chief executive next month until a full-time appointment is made.

An RFU statement read: "Martyn Thomas has decided to leave his post as RFU acting chief executive officer (CEO) on December 16, 2011 following the end of his contract

"RFU chief financial officer Stephen Brown, in addition to continuing to fulfil his current responsibilities, will become RFU acting CEO on December 16, 2011 until the start date of a new permanent CEO."

Thomas, who has been on the RFU board for six years, will also lose his post as the chairman of Rugby World Cup 2015, which England will host. He will also step down from his positions on the International Rugby Board Council and Six Nations Committee, as well as his directorship of European Rugby Cup Ltd.

A further consequence will be that the Thomas-commissioned Cotton Review, which was to be led by former Lions prop Fran Cotton to look into England's poor recent World Cup performance, will not take place.

Instead the RFU will hold an independent review once the Professional Game Board, which represents senior clubs and players, completes its own assessment.

Thomas said: "It has been an honour to be part of the Union, most particularly for the past six months as acting chief executive where I have been lucky enough to get to know better the RFU staff who work tirelessly for the good of the game. Stephen Brown for one has been a phenomenal addition to the executive team and, having got to know him very well over the last few months, I have total faith that he will provide the stability and leadership needed at this important time.

"I feel that now is the right time to spend more time with my family. As a result I have decided not to renew my contract at its conclusion in December."


From Belfast Telegraph