Blue Bulls president Willem Strauss admits the recent departure of company chief executive Alfons Meyer paints a perception of administrative difficulties, but insists the franchise’s governance structure is “immensely strong”.
The men from Loftus had been rocked last week by Meyer’s sudden resignation for personal reasons, concluding a tenure that lasted less than 18 months.
He had succeeded the retiring Barend van Graan.
It followed Alan Zondagh waving goodbye to the franchise as director of rugby in February, a blow that has been significantly softened by the high-profile recruitment of Jake White in a similar if more hands-on capacity.
“Alfons’ resignation was obviously a shock to the system. It always is,” Strauss told Sport24.
“But one also has to be philosophical in these type of situations. It’s part of life as a professional union in South African rugby. It’s defined by uncertainty.
“Like players, administrative employment is contract-based. That inevitably means that tenures average less than five years. Alfons and Alan were on contracts, unfortunately quick departures are part-and-parcel of the package.”
However, the void left by Meyer is offset by a board of directors beefed up by various members capable of temporarily fulfilling some of his responsibilities.
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“Our board is very stable and brims with expertise. In fact, since Patrice Motsepe acquired his 37% stake late last year, we’ve been privileged to merely bolster our decision-making capacity. He and Remgro have added so much value as stakeholders,” said Strauss.
“If anything, I believe the Bulls now have the strongest board of any South African franchise. Our strategy and vision stays the same, we’re ratifying it all the time. It’s also important to note that we have members with previous experience as CEOs. I acted in that capacity for a decade at the Pumas and Stefan Crouse is a former chief of Saracens.”
That would certainly suggest that the franchise can steadily keep its operations functioning effectively while calmly searching for Meyer’s successor.
Edgar Rathbone, the Lions’ chief financial officer, has publicly expressed his interest in the role after being requested by the Loftus hierarchy to make himself available, but would require board approval before considering any offer.
Ajee Valentine, Steinhoff’s former sponsorship manager, is also in the frame again after he was reportedly on the shortlist to replace Van Graan in late 2018, only to be usurped by Meyer’s mildly surprising appointment.