Welsh rugby’s Professional Rugby Board (PRB) has appointed a new independent non-executive director, Marianne Økland, who is senior figure in the financial sector.
Økland is a portfolio non-executive director with international leadership experience from boards located in six different countries, predominantly in banking and shipping.
She joins recently appointed chair Amanda Blanc to complete the independent contingent of the PRB, the body which oversees the professional game in Wales and also includes representation from the Welsh Rugby Union and each of the four Welsh regional teams.
"We are delighted to welcome on board someone of such calibre and with such a high level of experience, who joins the PRB at this pivotal moment for the future of the game in Wales," said PRB chair Amanda Blanc.
"Marianne will offer a new voice and a fresh perspective at a time when, against the backdrop of the current world health crisis, it is vital that the PRB is proactive with plans to not only safeguard the future of the professional game in Wales, but to also allow it to flourish and reach its full potential when the time is right for rugby to return.
"Marianne brings a wealth of experience gained over decades of dedicated work at executive and board levels in the financial sector and also possesses that all important passion for the game which will make her and integral part of the PRB."
Born in Norway and a graduate of the Norwegian School of Economics the PRB’s new Board member has chaired a broad range of board committees herself, with focus on risk management, audit and corporate governance.
But, despite hailing from a country not known for its rugby, she has developed a passion for the game attending two British & Irish Lions tours as well as each Rugby World Cup tournament final since 1995.
"I will continue to show I possess the required mix of both skill and passion to my colleagues on the PRB that has led to them welcoming me onto the Board and I am hugely grateful and excited for the opportunity to do so," said Økland.
"It will be a great pleasure to do all that I can to help facilitate the aims and ambitions of professional rugby in Wales and contribute to the vital work the PRB does in this field.
"I am well versed in the complexities involved in running large organisations and look forward to bringing my corporate board experience to the table to the long term benefit of Welsh rugby."
Økland is also a member of the executive committee of Penguins International RFC, a touring club dedicated to promoting rugby and its values around the world which has coached over 20,000 children, primarily in developing countries, and boasts a number of past and current internationals (including Derek Quinnell, David Pickering and Alan Phillips) as former players.
We are delighted to welcome on board someone of such calibre and with such a high level of experience...