A few weeks ago, Will Thomas was announced as the Chief Executive of Neath RFC. This was a surprise for a number of reasons.
Firstly, Neath RFC isn’t an especially large business. Whether it needs a full time chief executive officer is open to some question. A general manager, perhaps, but Chief Executive is a grand title.
Secondly, Will Thomas was a former Wales 7’s player, who has some professional business qualifications. His previous role was within the WRU as ostensibly running the Principality Premiership. The competition that Neath play in. It is strange that he leaves a stable job, in a seemingly stable business (as we are constantly told) to take a job at Neath RFC. With the best will in the world (no pun intended), Neath RFC has not been the stablest of environments recently. The chairman’s business went into administration a few years ago, the local council has attempted to get a winding up order, and the chairman has recently been arrested for fraud. (I should emphasise that these are facts. They are also facts that the chairman has started another business, many winding up orders get settled, and arrest does not equate to guilt).
So, why would a professionally qualified ‘rugby’ man, leave the Welsh Rugby Union, for another job, which although has a grander title, is unlikely to pay a salary significantly more than the Union were paying him? Oh and at that other job, stability is far from guaranteed.
Now it is possible that he wanted a challenge, and was given certain guarantees by the Neath chairman, that satisfied him with regard to some of the issues outlined above.
Is it not though possible that the WRU is such a miserable place to work, that Mr Thomas was desperate to leave? And that staff morale is rock bottom, and they are fed up working there?