New ownership deal points way forward for Yorkshire Carnegie

FUTURE PLANS: Sir Ian McGeehan at Headingley
FUTURE PLANS: Sir Ian McGeehan at Headingley
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Championship rugby team Yorkshire Carnegie have been taken over by a new board as part of the club’s long-term strategy to reclaim their place in the Premiership.

The takeover by local businessmen is worth £2-4m over the next three years.

A new company, Yorkshire Tykes Limited, has acquired the club and its business with immediate effect.

It has secured an agreement for the long-term use of Headingley Carnegie Stadium, the Kirkstall training facility, and a range of other services.

The board of Yorkshire Tykes now consists of three executive directors and three non-executive directors.

The three executive directors are; Sir Ian McGeechan as executive president, Gary Hetherington continues as chief executive officer and Rob Oates as commercial director.

The three non-executive directors are Alastair Da Costa, Jon Wright and David Dockray, with Dockray also becoming chairman of the board.

Hetherington said: “When we held a press conference earlier this year, we indicated that we were seeking to generate new sources of funding in the range of £2-4million over the next three years, and we are on track to do that. Those funds will underpin the business and we see a number of major opportunities available to us.”

Carnegie president Sir Ian McGeechan said: “The search for new owners and board members has been thorough and the new group is an excellent one, which will provide a new focus and energy to deliver our vision for Rugby Union in Yorkshire.

“I would like to pay credit to the previous board, in particular Paul Caddick, who has personally supported and nurtured professional Rugby Union in the county for nearly 20 years and who has stepped aside to try and secure a sustainable and successful future for the game in the county.

“I would also like to thank our sponsors and supporters for their patience during the last year.

“This has been a complicated process but now provides stronger foundations from which we can build on over the next three years.”

Yorkshire Tykes Limited chairman David Dockray, added: “The appointments to the board seek to combine the in depth knowledge and experience of rugby as a sport and as a business, with the business experiences and contacts of the non-executive directors to enable us to take advantage of the new opportunities we see ahead of us, particularly on a cross Yorkshire basis.”

The new shareholders in Yorkshire Tykes Limited are:

Alastair Da Costa is the Chief Executive of Prince’s Trust International, the charity which focuses on youth employment and strategies for countries around the world. Before that, Alastair spent 20 years practicising as an international corporate lawyer, most recently with DLA Piper. Alastair lives in North Yorkshire and has been a supporter of the club for many years.

Jon Wright is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Xercise4less, an award-winning national gym group headquartered in Leeds. Jon has nearly 20 years experience in the Health club industry and is a former Rugby Union player with Leeds and Harlequins, but his playing career was cut short by injury. Jon lives near Leeds and has been a sponsor of the club for several years.

David Dockray was formerly the European Managing Partner of PwC Consulting, and subsequently Global Board member for IBM Global Business Services, the world’s largest consulting and systems integration enterprise. David now runs his own consulting business and has been a member of the Headingley Taverners club for several years.

Mike Shotton is the former Chairman of textile group Quantum Clothing who recently led a group of local investors to buy out Huddersfield based Sellers Global Engineers Ltd which trades in 60 countries worldwide, where he is now Chairman. He lives in Harrogate and has been a member of Headingley Taverners for many years.

Dr. Keith Howard was one of the founders of Emerald Group Publishing and Chairman of the Trustees of Emerald Foundation. Keith has wide interests and is a benefactor to Opera and Leeds Grand Theatre, Yorkshire Cricket, and both codes of rugby at Headingley.

Tony Snowdon was until recently Marketing Director for Leeds based specialist engineers, FTL Technology for 30 years, which was sold to a large global USA based company. He now spends much of his time as a ‘Business Angel’ seeking out opportunities where his attributes can improve and enhance company performance. A graduate of Leeds Metroplolitan Unviversity, Tony is also a keen rugby enthusiast.

Howard Illingworth has been a director at Robinson Group and Northern Energy and associated businesses for over 20 years and a regular at Headingley during the past decade. He is a former Rugby Union player.

John Swarbrick is the Head of Portfolio at the Business Growth Fund (BGF) that was created two years ago with an initial £2.5bn fund. John began his career as a corporate finance advisor with PwC and is an Economics graduate from Leeds University. He has previously supported the Club from the terraces and resides in Harrogate.

Josh Bainbridge  of Carnegie goes past Ellis Shipp of Dragons Premiership Select.

Milestone beckons for Yorkshire Carnegie flanker Josh Bainbridge