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During the February USA Rugby Board of Directors meeting, Dan Payne informed the leadership group that he will step down as Chief Executive Officer in July 2018, following the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco.
"Knowing the time and travel this position requires and our union deserves," said Payne, "balanced against my responsibility and desire to be present for the formative years of my children's lives, this is the best decision."
Payne's primary objective when first given the reigns in the summer of 2016 quickly became one that necessitated a focus on stabilizing the financial performance at USA Rugby.
"In late August of 2016, one month after joining the organization, it became plainly obvious that 2016 was on a negative trajectory and that 2017 was going to be a challenging year from a financial perspective," continued Payne, "I'm happy to report the 2017 books for USA Rugby have been closed and we have achieved the financial goals set forth for the Union. In addition to managing the budget to plan, the organization was able to contribute to the contingency reserve and add value to the balance sheet.
"I'm very proud and thankful for the commitment, understanding and support our community, employees, Golden Eagles, athletes and others put forth in 2017," added Payne. "In times of adversity, you learn a lot about those around you and even more about yourself. I have been blessed with tremendous support from key members of the groups mentioned above, along with a committed staff."
When asked to highlight positive outcomes Payne answered, "The positives always center around the athletes, administrators, coaches, & referees that make everything work. In the face of some tough decisions we delivered a balanced budget while carrying out each championship USA Rugby sponsors for the membership.
The coaches, staff and athletes of our 4 senior national teams, collectively, earned the most successful year in the history of the game here in the US. Most importantly, something that I hope we can continue to do more of, USA Rugby prioritized placing Regional Development Officers in key markets to continue the focus on growing pre-High School & youth rugby.
When asked what is immediately next for Payne, his replied, "I'm going to focus my remaining time with USA Rugby on a successful Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco, assist in every way possible to support the debut season of Major League Rugby and finalize the agreement for a Women's Sevens series stop in the United States this fall. However, I'm most excited about welcoming another child to our family in August. It promises to be a busy summer!"
"First and foremost, on behalf of USA Rugby, I would like to thank Dan for his incredible dedication to this organization and its members." said Will Chang, Chairman of the USA Rugby Board of Directors, "He came into the role during a transitional period and was able to stabilize the organization and its finances."
"USA Rugby is grateful for Dan's commitment over the last year and half, and very much looks forward to working closely with him in hosting a successful Rugby World Cup Sevens."
With just over 4 months remaining on Payne's tenure, USA Rugby will immediately begin the search process for a successor with a comprehensive transition in mind. USA Rugby has partnered with the Global Sport Leadership Practice at RSR Partners to lead the assignment and recruit the next Chief Executive Officer for USA Rugby. All interested parties should submit their credentials for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Payne concluded, "I'm not leaving rugby, just the current position I have had the honor of serving."