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Wall to chair Welsh Rugby’s Professional Rugby Board

MALCOM Wall has been appointed as the new independent chair of Welsh rugby’s Professional Rugby Board (PRB).

The appointment process was led by the PRB, which unanimously approved the appointment.

The PRB recommendation was ratified by the Welsh Rugby Union Board and his appointment as the independent chair of the PRB means Wall will also join the Welsh Rugby Union Board.

A former chair of Premiership Rugby side Harlequin F.C., Wall brings over 30 years of high level business experience to the role – including a range of high profile non-executive directorships and several chief executive (CEO), chief operating officer (COO) or managing director (MD) roles, across the media industry.

“This is a hugely significant appointment for Welsh rugby, the PRB exists to safeguard the future and facilitate the successful operation of our professional game and it was vital for us to find someone of Malcom’s calibre, relevant knowledge, experience and business acumen, to fill this important position,” said WRU chair Rob Butcher.

“Malcolm follows an incredible leader and an inspiring individual, in Amanda Blanc, into the role and we thank Amanda sincerely for her great contribution to our game.

“But Malcolm has shone through from an impressive list of candidates and we are highly confident we have found the very best person for the job and are delighted that Malcolm has accepted the challenge of chairing some of the most important discussions taking place in Welsh rugby today.”

The PRB comprises representatives from each of the five professional entities in Welsh rugby and consists of the four regional representatives, Alun Jones (Cardiff Rugby), David Buttress (Dragons), Nick Garcia (Ospreys) and Simon Muderack (Scarlets), WRU CEO Steve Phillips, WRU finance director Tim Moss and two independent members, being Malcolm Wall as chair and also Marianne Økland.

The PRB meetings are also attended by the WRU’s performance director Nigel Walker and the chair of the Rugby Management Board, Jon Daniels.

Currently chairman at three separate media companies – including dock10 Ltd, the Media City production facility and largest independent television studios in the UK – Wall has previously been a Non- Executive Director of Image Nation LLC, the Abu Dhabi based international film fund.

He was formally CEO and then advisor to the board at Abu Dhabi Media and most recently MD at Song Lin Ltd, before forming his own consultancy Malcolm Wall Media in 2013.

“Malcom joins the PRB with an impressive bank of knowledge and experience gained from a range of high level roles across the media spectrum but also with unique and direct knowledge of professional rugby,” said PRB independent member Marianne Økland.

These are critically important times for the professional game in Wales and we are delighted to have attracted someone of Malcom’s standing to the role. Chairing PRB meetings is no easy task, but it is a vitally important one for Welsh rugby and we know we are in safe hands following Malcolm’s appointment. I look forward to a productive partnership.”

Wall began his distinguished media career at Southern, then Anglia and then Granada Television before taking charge of Meridian Broadcasting as deputy CEO in the early 90s.  He went on to lead the multinational media company United Business Media as COO over a four year period before being made CEO, Content for Virgin Media LLC in 2006.

He ran Virgin Media’s content business for three years, including Virgin Media Television and was also chairman of UKTV.

“It will be an honour to serve Welsh rugby,” said Wall.

“Rugby is at a critical stage of its development from a global perspective.  The game needs to be agile and to continue to evolve and adapt but that is exactly what the PRB is in place to facilitate and it will be my great pleasure to bring all of my business experience and skills to the table in the very best interests of the professional game in Wales.”

The PRB has operated as a sub-Board of the WRU since a modernised governance structure was passed by its members, clubs and districts at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in October 2018.

Wall becomes its third chair taking over from Amanda Blanc who has served since December 2019 and the PRB’s inaugural chair David Lovett.

WRU CEO Phillips added: “We are hugely grateful to Amanda Blanc for her service to Welsh rugby.  She has helped us charter safely through extremely difficult waters both during the recent pandemic and outside it and the game in Wales owes her a huge debt of gratitude for both her commitment and dedication to the role.

“Having been unanimously appointed by the PRB, I know Malcolm will be a hugely positive presence and we are all very much looking forward to welcoming him on board at our first meeting. He has an extensive range of experience and knowledge that we hope to be able to tap into, but he also has the personality, persona and gravitas to be able to pick up exactly where Amanda has left off and help ensure that the professional game in Wales continues on its forward trajectory.”