Sharks president steps down

Graham MacKenzie (Gallo Images)
Graham MacKenzie (Gallo Images)

Durban - Graham Mackenzie resigned as KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union president at a council meeting last Friday.

Mackenzie, who served the Sharks for nine years, will be replaced by current vice-president Francois Louis.

He told the Sharks’ official website: “I’ve served the KZNRU for nine years in various capacities, including president, for the past five years. I have reached a personal juncture in my life, where I now need to give focus to my personal and business life. The latter requires that I will have to be abroad for prolonged periods. I believe that in fairness to all concerned, with both the club and amateur season now over, that it is best that I create the opportunity now for the KZNRU to appoint a successor prior to the EGM at the end of the year.

“In addition, the new president will have the opportunity to work with both the new CEO of the Sharks, Gary Teichmann, and the appointment of the new general manager of the KZNRU to replace the retiring Pete Smith.”

Stephen Saad, chairman of the Sharks, commented: “We will miss Graham. He has worked tirelessly to raise funds and grow the game at grass roots level. His work in the transformation and development arena was recognised by our provincial government, resulting in a five-year sponsorship of youth development rugby.

“He unified all structures and his positive engagement with both primary and secondary schools resulted in improved coaching, identification of talent and the number of schools playing at Kings Park. Under his leadership of the union, the Sharks have taken the game to their broader fan base playing in townships and all sub-unions in the province to help sustain the game and grow our fan base. At a board level, Graham has been incredibly supportive and has involved himself in all areas of the business, always keen to add value in whatever role he could.  For this we thank you Graham.”

Mackenzie added: “I am proud of what has been achieved to date and wish my successor, Francois Louis, every success in extending the progress achieved to date.  I am honoured to hand over the reins.  We have balanced the KZNRU budget in these past five years, including rolling out our transformation and development programme and the paying of club grants. Together with SuperSport, we will continue to support the amateur game and give it the backing it deserves.

“I am passionate about seeing home grown talent representing The Sharks at all levels, and believe the KZNRU has an integral part to play here. I would like to thank the KZNRU, the Exco and the council for their trust in honouring me with the presidency.  It has been a great privilege. To the Sharks board and to SuperSport - our fellow shareholder in the Sharks - I wish to pay tribute to their contribution and support over the years. Finally, to Mr Stephen Saad, chairman of the Sharks board, a huge thank you for your contribution, leadership and wisdom in steering the Sharks.”

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