Decisions: Roger Lewis, Welsh Rugby Union

The group chief executive of the governing body of rugby union in Wales

by Hannah Prevett
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013


... frequently involve people. When I was director of the classical division of EMI, I hired a grand marketer from Unilever. It was bold to bring someone from a blue-chip FMCG background into the record industry in 1990, which was pretty unsophisticated then. The resistance was huge - I never won over some diehards.

I'm also pleased I chose not to succumb to the excesses of the rock and roll lifestyle. I was in the company of many fantastic musicians: hanging out with Madonna in 1986 in New York, as well as spending time with Eric Clapton, Brian May, George Michael - the list goes on.

More recently, one of the best decisions I made was leaving my 30-year career in London and moving back to Wales. When I was offered the job as group chief exec at the WRU, my initial reaction was 'no way', because sport is such a crazy world to work in. In sport, uncertainty is fundamental, whereas in business one strives for certainty. I'm just starting my fifth year in the post and I'm only now coming to terms with it.


... are usually people-related, too. A handful of times I have put people in senior positions who weren't ready for it. It's usually been when I've rushed it and made a decision to fill the vacancy merely because no one else was available. At the time I felt I could develop and coach them, but if someone doesn't have the basics for the job it'll never work out.

I've also made the mistake of not always being prepared for meetings and come unstuck by not fully grasping the dynamics of the situation or, most importantly, not looking at it from the other person's point of view. You have to create space to be creative in deal-making. And you only get that space by being prepared.

My biggest single regret is not spending time with my kids when they were younger. There's a key age between three and 12 which I missed out because my career was so full on. I'd leave the house early and get home very late and I was away a lot too. I now try to spend as much time with my two boys as I can. They're both thrilled I'm at the WRU as they're huge rugby fans.

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