One of their own: Connacht appoint ex-fullback Willie Ruane as new CEO

Ruane, who represented his province and Galwegians in the 1990s, will take over in the summer after 15 years in the banking sector.

Image: Patrick Bolger/INPHO

CONNACHT HAVE ENDED their search for a new CEO and will return to the policy of having a Connacht man controlling matters at the western province.

Former Connacht and Galwegians fullback Willie Ruane has today been announced as the man to take over from Tom Sears.

Sears presided over a turbulent 15 months off the field in Connacht having taken over from long-time servant Gerry Kelly.

Ruane, a native native of Mayo, will take up the new post this summer after 15 years in the banking sector and most recently as a director of Ulster Bank’s business restructuring division.

“I have a strong connection with Connacht Rugby and a good understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the province,” he said in a statement released by the IRFU today.

“Connacht Rugby has a top class coach, an exciting squad of players and some fantastic facilities.  I am looking forward to helping to drive success on and off the pitch.”

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With much of next season’s major recruitment decisions already signed and sealed, Ruane’s immediate duties will be primarily focused on matters off the field with a reputed €900,000 deficit hanging over the province.

“Connacht face a number of commercial challenges,” said IRFU CEO Philip Browne, “but recent infrastructural investment and record crowds at the Sportsground shows the appetite and ambition of the province to grow the appeal of professional rugby in the region.”

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Sean Farrell

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