New Zealand Rugby and the Blues agree new governance structure
• An independent review recommends shareholding change
• NZR to hold 40% interim partnership interest in Blues
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and Bolton Equities Limited (BEL) have agreed that the national body will take over, on an interim basis, the 40 percent partnership interest in the Auckland-based Super Rugby club following an independent review of the club’s governance structure.
NZR has completed an independent review of the club’s governance structure in parallel with an in-depth, on-field post campaign review. The governance review was conducted by Alan Isaac a former Chair and CEO of KPMG, President of the International Cricket Council 2012-2014, and Chair of New Zealand Cricket 2008-2009.
The review concluded that the existing shareholding mix is unsustainable and due to NZR’s over-riding commitment to the Provincial Union shareholders, has recommended that BEL sell its shares to NZR. On that advice, BEL has agreed to exit the partnership on the basis that this will allow NZR to work with the Provincial Union shareholders to find a new group of investors.
NZR Chief Executive Steve Tew said: “We would like to thank BEL CEO Murray Bolton and his team for their contribution to the Blues over this period. A large amount of progress has been made over this time highlighted by the establishment of the Blues’ home base in Epsom which is as good as any in professional rugby.
“The review is one of many steps that the Blues have recently taken to help rebuild the success of the Club. This has included the appointment of Leon MacDonald as Assistant Coach and Tom Coventry as Forwards Coach to join Head Coach Tana Umaga in 2019, the extension of Principal Partner nib for three years and the re-signing of key players and new recruits such as Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Murray Bolton said: “Whilst we have been required to sell our shares, we will continue to be a strong advocate and supporter for the Blues.”
NZR has agreed with the remaining Blues owners (Auckland Rugby Union, North Harbour Rugby Union and Northland Rugby Union) to hold its partnership interest until a process has been completed to identify alternative private investors and, the appointment of a new Board chair. Outgoing chair Tony Carter has agreed to remain as the Independent Chair during the transition.
Tony Carter said: “BEL has made a valuable contribution to the growth and success of the Blues and we acknowledge that and are very thankful for their support over the past that years.
“There are still several areas in which we need to improve to ensure the success of the Blues and, to continue to contribute to the future of rugby in New Zealand.”
Blues Limited Partnership Shareholders
Auckland Rugby Union 38.75%
North Harbour Rugby Union 17.75%
Northland Rugby Union 3.5%
Tony Carter – Independent Chair
Murray Bolton – BEL
Laurie Margrain – BEL
David Harwood – BEL
Kate Daly – ARU
Brian Wilsher – ARU
Shaun Nixon – North Harbour
The current Blues LP license agreement has been operating since late 2013.