John Jeffrey, a mainstay of the legendary 1990 Grand Slam team, is to become interim chairman of Scottish Rugby with immediate effect.
The 40-times capped back-rower and British and Irish Lion, now 61, is the current chairman of the Six Nations and has gathered huge experience of the administration of rugby on a worldwide stage since he retired from playing.
His is a temporary appointment to replace Colin Grassie, who has been expected to step down in August at Scottish Rugby’s AGM but instead has opted to leave immediately. Grassie had been on the Scottish Rugby Board since 2012 and had been chairman since 2017.
Grassie said he considered that with last week’s completion of the CVC investment into the PRO14 it was “a perfect time to hand over the reins.”
“I have been privileged to be an Independent Non-Executive Director and Chairman of the Board at Scottish Rugby in a sport I love at a crucial period of its development.
“We have achieved many great things over the years as a Board and as a sport. Whilst noting we have, like all sports, challenges all around.
“I leave with great pride and gratitude to my fellow Board members past and present and acknowledge the hard work of all our staff and volunteers, who do so much to support our great game.
“I am also very pleased to be able to hand the Chairman role over to John Jeffrey, an outstanding player, leader and sports administrator.
“With JJ’s knowledge of the game, and wealth of experience at Six Nations and World Rugby, the Scottish Rugby Board will be very well served.
“We face, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, significant challenges as a sport but I know the Board at Scottish Rugby will remain focused on guiding the whole sport from the grassroots to the national teams through this crisis in the most sustainable way it can.”
The Board is still conducting a search for a permanent chairman which remains “ongoing and unaffected”, a statement from Murrayfield read.
Jeffrey said: “I was very pleased to accept the role of Chairman at Scottish Rugby. Our sport faces significant challenges just now and I hope I can put my experience to good use for the benefit of Scottish Rugby and the whole rugby community in Scotland.
“Under Colin’s Chairmanship the Board and Scottish Rugby made progress in important areas and I look forward to continuing that work.”
Scottish Rugby President Dee Bradbury said: “I’d like to firstly thank Colin Grassie for his contribution to Scottish Rugby over the past eight years, especially during his time as Chairman. I know he cared deeply about the sport and has led the Board as Scottish Rugby made real progress in recent years.
“We are fortunate to welcome John as our new chairman, who will bring his own significant experience and knowledge to the role. He joins at a challenging time for our sport but I know he will be an asset to the Board and Scottish rugby in the months ahead.”