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USA Rugby has endured its fourth high-level resignation in the span of a month, with former McDonald's executive Dean Barrett stepping down. This comes in the aftermath of the magnitude of USA Rugby subsidiary Rugby International Marketing's financial failures going public.
USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne announced his impending resignation at the beginning of March, around the same time Chad Keck was removed from the RIM board. On March 21st, RIM CEO David Sternberg stepped down.
Keck remains on the USA Rugby board, despite an effort from Congress to remove him from that seat as well. The majority of Congress voted to recall Keck, but the required two-thirds majority vote was not achieved. Keck was removed from RIM because he was the USA Rugby board member charged with overseeing the fledgling company's operations. Sternberg stepped down amidst growing concern of massive losses and poor decision making. Payne cited family reasons for stepping down, but its widely speculated the expected collapse of RIM and the financial mess it will leave USA Rugby is a large part of his reasoning for leaving.
Like Payne, Barrett had little to do with the conception and execution of RIM, as both joined USA Rugby after the company was up and running. Barrett was one of two members on the board who had no real rugby career themselves. Barbara O'Brien, confirmed on the board last year, is the other.
This development leaves USA Rugby's board with three vacancies - Rob King is terming out, Bob Kimmitt's seat is open, and now Barrett's. There's a growing line of thought that Keck will vacate his seat, too, and that the resignations may not stop there, leaving maybe four, and potentially as many as five, seats left to be filled this summer.
The window for nominations on King's and Kimmitt's seats closed over the weekend. As of last week, the amount of submissions for the openings was low, and there was a rub between USA Rugby's congress and major-donor group, the Golden Eagles, revolving around the nominations process.