Ryan Walkinshaw will develop into an outstanding Gloucester Rugby chairman
RYAN Walkinshaw will develop into an outstanding Gloucester chairman, believes David McKnight.
Outgoing non-executive chairman McKnight has stepped down to allow Gloucester co-owner Walkinshaw to step up to the executive chairmanship.
McKnight took up the non-executive chairman role after the death of close friend and business associate Tom Walkinshaw, to guide Ryan Walkinshaw through the early stages of stepping into his father's shoes.
But now McKnight believe s his 'caretaker' role is complete, and has backed Walkinshaw to lead Gloucester to a new era of success.
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McKnight explained: "I think he will prove to be an exceptional chairman for the club.
"This was a completely unanimous decision at the last board meeting.
"I think it's brilliant that someone who has an equity interest in the club has the right to steer the ship, but in Ryan you have someone who has that ownership but also the ability to do the job, and that's not always the case.
"I'm delighted that Ryan's now in a position where he can take over as executive chairman.
"My role was only ever really a caretaker role, after Tom passed, to try to help ease that part of his empire into Ryan's knowledge base really.
"And perhaps keep the company going with a defined corporate structure.
"But the club's in great shape now and Ryan's in a good position to take the club forward on a day-to-day basis, which is what the club really needs."
Confirming he will take up a role as a non-executive director on the Gloucester board, McKnight said the Cherry and Whites now boast one of the strongest financial and off-field foundations in the Premiership.
He continued: "Ryan's a very bright young man.
"He obviously had to deal with the trauma of his father passing away and then to begin to understand the various facets of his business empire.
"In terms of the rugby club specifically Gloucester have had some difficulties in years gone by, but the club's now in really good shape.
"And Ryan's been instrumental in the decisions we've made in the last 18 months to put the club in such a strong position, and going forward I think it's probably fair to say that it's in as good a position as any other Premiership club at the moment.
"And that's both financially, from a corporate viewpoint, and also – with the exception of the terribly sad passing of John Brain – I believe our coaching position is hugely better than it was last season.
"Ken has been very supportive over the last two years too.
"I know Ken had his own path to follow but decided to stay while Ryan matured into that role, and his transformation over the last 18 months has been remarkable.
"It's my intention to carry on. I've been asked to and I'd be delighted to do that.
"And I'll be there to support the club where I can, and also to act as a sounding board or another voice for Ryan going forward.
"I'd like to say that I've thoroughly enjoyed the role and it's been a delight to see the club going very strong, and I think it will continue to do that."