Cape Town - Paul Zacks has stepped down as CEO of Western Province Rugby, the union confirmed via a statement on Monday.
This comes after nearly a year of in-fighting, with the union's amateur arm (WPRFU), led by president Zelt Marais, reportedly interfering with the day-to-day running of the professional arm (WP Rugby), headed by Zacks.
"The last four years have been an extremely challenging period for WP Rugby, both off and on the field, and having reached a point of more stability, it’s a natural time for someone else to come in and take up the reigns with renewed energy and vigour," Zacks said.
"I would like to thank the chairman and the Board of Directors, the President of Western Rugby Football Union (WPRFU), Exco members, WP Rugby’s sponsors, commercial partners, the Faithful and especially the staff for their support during this time."
Western Province Professional Rugby (WPPR) chairperson Dr Johan van der Merwe paid tribute to Zacks.
"We appreciate the professionalism with which Paul fulfilled his responsibilities over the past four years. Unfortunately, the pressure associated with the role has had a negative impact on Paul’s health, and we accept his decision to step down in light of this," he said.
The statement then further praised Zacks:
"Paul has done invaluable work for WP Rugby during his tenure including implementing significant cost-saving initiatives as well as the introduction of new revenue streams to support business continuity. He was also instrumental in securing the stadium move to Cape Town Stadium – providing the team and faithful supporters with a new world-class home base from 2021. In addition, amongst other things, he also played a key role in retaining core Stormers players, including the majority of this who formed part of the World Cup 2019 winning Springboks squad, to ensure the Stormers have the best possible team for Super Rugby in 2020 and beyond," it read.
"The Stormers are well into their pre-season preparation, and under the leadership of head coach, John Dobson and his formidable coaching team, we are looking forward to a great season ahead in Super Rugby. First and foremost, our focus is on ensuring that the team have everything they need to perform and it will be business as usual while we recruit a new CEO.
"In the interim, a general business committee has been appointed to handle the business end of rugby until a replacement is found. The committee will compromise of two representatives from the company’s shareholder as well as two independent directors from the company’s board of directors"
Marais, his Executive Committee and the Board of Directors of WPPR also thanked Zacks for his dedication to WP Rugby and wished him well in his future endeavours.
- WPRU Media