Leeds appoint club legend Jamie Jones-Buchanan to board of directors in historic first

Josh McAllister
Jamie Jones-Buchanan, SWPix.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

Leeds have made history with the appointment of Jamie Jones-Buchanan to the club’s board of directors with immediate effect. 

The news follows just days after the ex-player was appointed as a board observer for the Rugby Football League.

Jones-Buchanan, 41, will now be Leeds’ first director of culture, diversity & inclusivity having moved away from the rugby department this year for a new challenge within his home town club. 

He becomes only the second former player in the 133-year history of the Leeds CF&A Co Ltd, the official name of the business that owns Leeds and the rugby stadium at Headingley, and the first non-white member of the board. 

The ex-international back-rower enjoyed a 20-year career at Headingley Stadium. He retired in 2019 and joined the club’s coaching staff, and was part of the backroom team that helped the Rhinos win the Challenge Cup in 2020.

He acted as interim head coach during the 2022 season before the arrival of Rohan Smith from Australia, who led the side to the Super League Grand Final at old Trafford that year.

Jamie Jones-Buchanan on new Leeds Rhinos role

Commenting on the announcement, Jones-Buchanan said: “It is a massive honour for me.

“There has been a lot of hard work over the last 27 years in my time at the club. But everything I am today is a mosaic of the opportunities and gifts this great club has given to me.

“I have been able to live my dream as a Leeds Rhinos player and now I have the chance to pay that back by serving this great community in the next chapter of my life. 

“I have been a fan, first of all, then a player in the academy and first team before getting the opportunity to coach the club.

“My role in culture, diversity and inclusion is something I am thoroughly enjoying and now this opportunity as a board member will give me the chance to help shape the governance of the club into the next decade.

“I have always stayed connected to my local community and the community game, and I think it is important that the board is representative of the people it represents,” added the former England international. 

Leeds chief on appointment

Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington added: “Jamie’s invitation to join the Leeds CF&A Co Ltd board of directors is in recognition of his passion, experience, and expertise.

“He has excelled in his current role as head of culture, diversity, and inclusivity and has already made a difference by challenging the way we do things at Leeds Rhinos.

“His presentation to the board on our culture, diversity, and inclusivity strategy a few months ago, received full support and his appointment will now provide more opportunities to promote and implement the changes as part of our overall ESG change programme.

“Last summer, we conducted a thorough governance exercise and this review identified weaknesses with our diversity, succession planning and some personnel skills gaps, too.

“We are focused on implementing the necessary changes and Jamie’s appointment is a significant one.”

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