Barry Cawte, CEO of The Welsh Rugby Players Association (WRPA), will be leaving his role after announcing today that he has been offered an opportunity to become the Chief Executive of Scottish Hockey.
Barry will relocate with his family to Scotland this October, by which time he will have been at the helm of the WRPA for over 2 years, having joined the WRPA in August 2019.
Most of Barry’s leadership has been against the backdrop of a global pandemic. However, he has successfully navigated the WRPA through this unprecedented time and has firmly cemented the position of the WRPA as a key influential association and an integral part of the future of the Welsh rugby echo system.
During Barry’s reign, he has fought hard to ensure the players' voice and views as key stakeholders of the game were heard, and working closely with the players, he negotiated the first collective pay cut in the WRPA’s history with the PRB (Professional Rugby Board). The key principle of these negotiations was always to protect the game and the livelihoods of the professional players of Wales during the pandemic. Barry recognised the need for strong collaboration with all the key stakeholders in the game to ensure he could effectively represent the needs of all the members of the WRPA.
Barry played a crucial role in ensuring the safe return to play for all the professional players in Wales and negotiated collective bargaining agreements that ensured continued investment into the WRPA’s world-class personal development programme. In addition to this, he has also seen through the launch of Second Half Rugby's (the WRPA’s charity), new Player Transition Programme which helps players with injury and health issues as they move into their post-playing days.
Barry has also strengthened the WRPA’s Non-Executive Board, adding Phil Lane OBE, Nicola Phillips OBE, Chris Brindley MBE and Ryan Jones MBE who enhance the world-leading expertise already on the board. Barry leaves in place strong foundations and a very clear and exciting strategy for the WRPA’s future, ready for his successor to move forward.
WRPA Chairman and former Wales International James King who has worked alongside Barry said:
"We are very disappointed that Barry is leaving his role, however, in his two years he has done some incredible work. He worked night and day to successfully navigate us through the pandemic and was always at hand whenever we needed him. It was the busiest and most demanding time in the association’s history, and for us to come through that period stronger than ever is a testament to Barry’s leadership.
We also know that Barry leaves in place a way forward for the association so that it can continue growing. He has been utterly professional throughout and he leaves the WRPA knowing it's more influential than ever before.”
CEO Barry Cawte said:
“I am very thankful to the Executive Committee and all our players for all their support in the last 2 years. They have stood united together in the most difficult of periods for our sport, and for that, I will always be grateful. It is with sadness that I leave behind an incredible team who have been unbelievable throughout the pandemic. They have always been there for our members and their enthusiasm to support & develop others is unparalleled. I would also like to thank our Non-Executives for their pearls of wisdom and guidance throughout.
From a personal perspective, I have learned so much from my time with the WRPA, but I have always maintained my passion for driving sports forward, and the opportunity to lead Scottish Hockey as their new CEO was simply one that I could not miss.
I know that I leave the WRPA with several exciting plans in place and I have no doubt they will continue their journey of being an industry-leading player association that will always act on the interests of the players of our beloved game.”