Dragons: Stuart Davies leaves as chief executive as Buttress takes reins

Stuart Davies and Dragons chairman David Buttress walk in front of an empty stand at Rodney Parade
Stuart Davies, who won 17 Wales caps, talks to Dragons chief David Buttress

Stuart Davies is stepping down as chief executive of the Welsh Rugby Union-owned Dragons with businessman David Buttress becoming executive chairman.

Ex-Wales number eight Davies, 52, has been in charge at Rodney Parade since February, 2015.

Buttress became chairman as the WRU took charge in July.

Dragons say Buttress is expected to make a "high level" commercial appointment during a "business restructure" in 2018.

Davies helped oversee the takeover of the region by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) in 2017 despite strong opposition to the plan.

Since their formation in 2003 Dragons have historically been the poorest performers among Wales' four professional regions and the WRU takeover meant they are now the only ones owned by the governing body.

Since the WRU takeover and Buttress became involved their highest profile signing has been Wales and British and Irish Lions back-rower Ross Moriarty.

They have also been linked with Wales and Lions wing George North and mercurial Australian back Quade Cooper.

'Really exciting times' for Dragons

Before his Dragons appointment, former Swansea number eight and captain Davies worked for a housing association and as a rugby pundit for BBC Wales.

Buttress' business background includes being the former chief executive and co-founder of Just Eat UK.

In a statement Buttress said: "I'm looking forward to rolling my sleeves up further and getting even more involved in the business.

"These are really exciting times for the Dragons and I'd like to go on record to thank Stuart personally for his role in getting us to where we are today.

"He should be extremely proud of the contribution he has made to the Dragons.

"Our immediate next step is to grow a comprehensive and cohesive board strategy to build a strong commercial sports team in the region. One that is both sustainable and makes all of the people of Gwent proud."

Dragons 'well positioned' - Davies

Davies said: "I will always be very proud of the historic and transformational change that I brought about for the region and of leading the business successfully through such a difficult period.

"As a result, the Dragons now have a wonderful opportunity and are well positioned to push on and enjoy exciting times in the years ahead."

WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips added: "Stuart worked through a significant period of uncertainty for the Dragons and should be credited with guiding the region to the secure footing it finds itself in today.

"A new regime has brought change at the top, but this should not negate the progress and positive achievements Stuart has brought about during his tenure."

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