Board & President

RFL's Current President - Air Commodore Dean Andrew

Air Commodore Dean Andrew, Royal Air Force, took command as Air Officer ISTAR at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire on 23 November 2015.

Air Commodore Andrew was born in Kingston upon Hull. He joined the Service in 1985 and, following training, completed his first tour on IX (Bomber) Squadron at Royal Air Force Brüggen, Germany, operating in both nuclear strike and conventional roles.

After a year detachment to Royal Air Force Wittering in 1991 as the Wing Electronic Warfare (EW) Officer, he was re-toured to IX (Bomber) Squadron, becoming one of the first aircrew to operate in the Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD) role, following the introduction into service of the ALARM missile.

With a background in EW, he was selected as an exchange officer to fly the specialist SEAD Tornado with the Luftwaffe. After 11 months at German language school, he moved to Fighter Bomber Wing 32 at German Air Force Lechfeld in November 1996.

Following his promotion to squadron leader, he was once again posted to Brüggen, this time as a flight commander on 31 'Goldstars' Squadron.

After this tour, he was posted to Royal Air Force High Wycombe, where he worked as a staff officer in Headquarters No.1 Group.

Following the Advanced Command and Staff Course at the Defence College, Shrivenham in 2002, he was promoted to wing commander and posted to Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps at Rheindahlen, in Germany, as the Commander's air advisor

In January 2006, he took command of 31 Squadron 'the Goldstars' at Royal Air Force Marham.

He was appointed OBE in 2008 for his successful introduction of 'lean' transformation techniques to the Squadron and for leading the air support package to Operation BLENHEIM, the re-deployment of troops from Basra Palace.

Having handed over the Goldstars in April 2008, he was promoted to group captain and appointed Commander 903 Expeditionary Air Wing, Basra. On his return in January 2009, he became Chief of Staff of the Joint Air Land Organisation, responsible for tri-Service inter-operability and then spent two years in the Chief of the United States Air Force Strategic Studies Group in the Pentagon.


After successful completion of the Higher Command and Staff Course at the Joint Service Staff College at Shrivenham in June 2013, he became the Deputy Chief of Staff Support at NATO’s Headquarters Allied Air Command (HQ AIRCOM) at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

He has more than 2,500 hours on Tornado and has flown combat operations in the Middle East and the Former Republic of Yugoslavia.

He is married to Andrea and they have two children, Annabell and Tom. Although he has represented the Royal Air Force at athletics and now enjoys cycling his real love is for Rugby League. He is the current President of Royal Air Force Rugby League and Chief Executive Officer of Great Britain Armed Forces Rugby League.

Brian Barwick: RFL Non-Executive Chairman

Brian Barwick has a wealth of experience in sport and broadcasting and is the founding partner of Barwick Media and Sport, a global sport and media consultancy.  In February 2013, Brian took up the role of Non-Executive Chairman at the Rugby Football League.   In June 2015 he was also appointed as Chairman of football’s National League. 

Brian has held a number of senior positions including, Chief Executive of the Football Association, Controller of Sport at ITV, and a number of key roles within the BBC, including Head of Television Sport. 

Brian was Chief Executive of the Football Association from 2005 to 2008 where he saw through the completion of the new Wembley Stadium, launched the Respect campaign and was involved in the appointment of England’s senior coach on two occasions. He was also a board member of Wembley Stadium Ltd and FIFA’s Legal Committee and UEFA’s National Teams Committee. 

At ITV he was responsible for all ITV Sports coverage including the 1998 FIFA World Cup during which the highest audience in ITV’s broadcasting history was achieved (28 million people for the England vs. Argentina World Cup tie).

From 1979-1998 Brian held a range of senior roles within BBC Sport. He was responsible for award winning coverage of the BBC Sport television portfolio including, the summer and winter Olympics, FIFA World Cups and outstanding national events like the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final, Wimbledon, the Open Golf and the Grand National, and the FA Cup Final. He was Editor of Match of the Day from 1987-1995.

Brian studied economics at Liverpool University and began his career as a reporter on the North Western Evening Mail. He is married with two sons. He currently holds a number of posts including a visiting Professorship of Strategic Leadership at The School of Management at Liverpool University and Chairman of the Advisory Board at the University College of Football Business.

In September 2015 Brian was made an honorary doctorate by Buckinghamshire New University in recognition of his career in broadcasting and sport.

Nigel Wood: Chief Executive

Nigel Wood: Chief Executive Nigel Wood has been a Director of the RFL for 15 years, being appointed Chief Executive Officer in 2007. During this time the RFL and SLE have grown revenues from £18m to £52m and have delivered profits in each consecutive year and investment around the sport has reached record levels. Nigel is also Chief Executive and a Director of Super League (Europe) Ltd, a position he has held since the creation of the company in 1996.

Nigel is very much committed to the expansion of the international game. In May 2014, he was elected as Chairman of the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) having worked in support of the federation for the past ten years, following his role as the Tournament Director for the immensely successful Rugby League World Cup 2013. Nigel is also Chairman of the Business, Finance and Grants Sub-Committee, which has overseen the implementation of a formal grants protocol for the first time in the history of the organisation.

He has supported European development through his work with the RFL and assisted the development of the international game by working with broadcast partners to have the widest possible audience for international matches.

 

More recently Nigel has been appointed Chairman of the RFL's Equality and Diversity Group; a forum established to maintain and develop the RFL’s reputation as being a leading governing body of sport for Equality and Diversity. Nigel joined the RFL in 2001 and has held a number of positions in the organisation, including Financial Director and Chief Operating Officer.

Prior to working for the RFL, Nigel was Chief Executive of Super League Club Halifax Blue Sox and Deputy Head of Finance for BBC North. He graduated from the University of Bradford in 1996 with an MBA in Business Administration. Nigel played Rugby League for Bradford Northern and Halifax RLFC at junior levels and Huddersfield at reserve grade, together with a number of seasons playing Amateur Rugby League in the Pennine League.

Ralph Rimmer: Chief Operating Officer

Ralph Rimmer was appointed onto the board of the Rugby Football League in 2013 after joining the organisation as Chief Operating Officer in October 2010. He has a wealth of experience at every level of the game, coupled with extensive knowledge in stadia and leisure development.

He played community rugby league for many years as a junior and senior for Ulverston ARLFC and went on to captain the Liverpool University team and play at student international level, before playing for Wakefield side, Stanley old Boys.

He began his professional career within the sport in South Yorkshire in 1991 as a Development Officer with Doncaster. He then took up a similar role with Sheffield Eagles three years later, going onto become General Manager and then Chief Executive of the then Super League club.

Following the club’s historic Challenge Cup Final victory over Wigan at Wembley in 1998, Rimmer went on to spend 5 years as the Chief Executive at Huddersfield Giants before moving on to the board as a non-executive director and taking on the role as the managing director of the stadium company, Kirklees Stadium Development Ltd.

In the last decade Rimmer spent four years as a non-executive director of Huddersfield Town AFC, helping to take the club out of administration; and also managed the Irish national rugby league team from 1997 to 2002 (including the 2000 Rugby League World Cup) and the Yorkshire Origin team in 2002; He was also non-executive Chairman of The Sporting Pride Community Trust, in Huddersfield, between 2007 and 2010.

As Managing Director of KSDL he was Project Lead on the £2m stadium redevelopment in 2007 and also on the £150m The HD One Leisure Development. He acted as a management consultant on several stadia developments including; Leigh Sports Village, Colchester United FC Stadium and also the Salford City Stadium.

Roger Draper: Chief Commercial Officer and Super League Executive Director

Roger Draper was appointed to the newly created role of Chief Commercial Officer and Super League Executive Director in December 2016 and is appointed onto the RFL Board.  Working closely with the Super League Board and Super League clubs Roger is committed to support their continued growth.

Roger has 15 years’ experience of working at the very top in British sport and brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding to this important role.

Roger, the previous Chief Executive of Super League Club Warrington Wolves, was formerly Chief Executive of the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) between 2006 and 2013 and of Sport England between 2003 and 2006.  Roger is an accomplished leader in the business of sport and is not only experienced in running a high performing National Governing Body but also has first-hand knowledge of leading a world-class Rugby League club.

A former England Students RL international, Roger was responsible for growing turnover at the LTA by 45% and more recently has overseen a major transformation programme at Warrington Wolves both on and off the pitch.

Roger is an independent Non-Executive Director of insurance company Sports Cover and is also a global adviser for BCG (Boston Consultancy Group)

Simon Johnson: Non-Executive Director

Simon Johnson is the Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council. Before that, he had a 20 year career that saw him operate at the highest levels of the sports and media industries. After a period as the senior lawyer at the Premier League, Simon’s career in sport saw him spend 4 years as Director of Corporate Affairs at The Football Association, followed by a role as COO of England’s Bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

He started his career as a lawyer, spending 10 years with ITV, the majority as Director of Rights and Business Affairs. He is a member of the Group Board of the Amateur Swimming Association.

Away from sport, Simon lives in London with his wife and three children. He is an active participant in community and charitable institutions.

Clare Morrow: Non-Executive Director

Clare, a former journalist at ITV and the BBC joined the RFL Board in 2008.   She was Chair of the award-winning tourism marketing agency Welcome to Yorkshire from 2008 to 2015, and led the successful bid for the Tour de France Grand Depart to be staged in Yorkshire in 2014. She is currently a non-executive director of Bettys and Taylors of Harrogate.

Clare spent fifteen years at ITV Yorkshire, where she was Controller of News and Regional Programmes. During her time at ITV, Clare also held the position of Head of Sport for a time and was responsible for Yorkshire Television’s Rugby League output for many years. This included the creation, development and production of the Rugby League Raw series of programmes, which won several National Royal Television Society sports awards.

She is also Chair of the Yorkshire Film Archive, and a trustee at Hollybank Trust in Mirfield, where her 23 year old profoundly disabled daughter Mary lives.

Chris Brindley: Non-Executive Director

Chris currently holds a number of positions  including Chair of one of the UK's leading charities, GreaterSport; Independent Non-Executive Director of Manchester Football Association and Chair of Total Swimming, Total Gymnastics and Becky Adlington Swim Stars.

He is also in demand as an Executive Coach and Mentor for Business Leaders throughout the UK. He is a renowned keynote speaker on topics, which include, Customer Experience, Leadership, Teamwork, Change Management and Performance Management. 

His sporting background puts him in a unique position to blend sporting high performance techniques and apply them successfully in business.

Chris has held Executive positions at NatWest, where he was the Managing Director of the Retail Bank for North of England and Scotland. At British Gas, Chris acted as Business Director North of England and Scotland and was also National Sales Director for Central Heating and Installations.