The position automatically places her on the Welsh Rugby Union Board too

Industry expert Amanda Blanc has been appointed as the new independent chair of Welsh rugby’s Professional Rugby Board (PRB); this position also entitles her to automatically join the Welsh Rugby Union Board (WRU) too.

This month, Blanc has taken on a raft of new opportunities for 2020. This includes starting at insurer Aviva as a non-executive director and joining specialist motor insurer ERS as a non-executive director and chair designate of ERS SML, the managing agent of Syndicate 218 at Lloyd’s, which provides ERS’s products, as well as take on a non-executive director role for ERS DGB, the insurer’s holding company.

Blanc, who has more than 30 years of industry experience and is a qualified chartered insurer, is also working with global insurtech Trõv, as its senior adviser.

Blanc, who left her role as chair of the ABI in July, has held senior roles at Axa, Towergate, Groupama, and Commercial Union, and chaired the Insurance Fraud Bureau. Most recently, she headed up Zurich’s Europe, Middle East and Africa business – she resigned from this post in July.

“A passion for Wales, for Welsh rugby and the communities that the game serves around the country has brought me to this role and I am relishing the challenge ahead,” Blanc said.

“The PRB obviously has a vital and integral role to play, not only in safeguarding the future of our national game, but also ensuring that it thrives at a time of huge potential change and it will be a great pleasure to do all that I can to help facilitate its aims and ambitions.

“I am looking forward to bringing my corporate board experience to the WRU and PRB; having been used to the complexities involved in running large organisations I know that this will be invaluable in helping Welsh rugby strive towards achieving greater success.”

Welsh role

The PRB is a group of representatives from each of the five professional entities in Welsh rugby. It consists of four regional chairmen – Alun Jones, David Buttress, Rob Davies and Nigel Short – chief executive Martyn Phillips, finance director Steve Phillips and two independent members; Blanc will fill one of these roles after gaining approval from the WRU board on 20 December. The organisation is still recruiting for the second independent member.

Blanc is replacing incumbent PRB chair David Lovett, who will continue to attend meetings during a transition period, to ensure an orderly handover.

Rob Davies added: “Amanda is an important addition to both the WRU Board and the PRB, not least because she comes with a skillset and high level of business experience in the financial sector unrivalled elsewhere.

“It is widely known that these are changing times for the world game, with talk of new structures and potential new ownership rife and it will be part of Amanda’s challenge to help ensure the PRB and Welsh rugby not only keeps pace but takes its place, rightly, at the forefront of imminent progress.”

Female success

Blanc, originally from Treherbert in the Rhondda Fawr valley, is the third female board member of the WRU. She joins board member Liza Burgess and non-executive director Aileen Richards.

“This is a hugely significant appointment for the PRB, but one which will also have [a] direct and positive impact on the WRU board,” Richards said.

“To attract someone of Amanda’s experience shows the high esteem in which Welsh rugby is held around the world and I’m, personally, greatly looking forward to working with her in the best interests of our national game in the years ahead.”